Valencia CF match-winner David Villa was delighted to see his team put indifferent domestic form behind them with a 1-0 win away to FC Schalke 04 in their opening Group B game in the UEFA Champions League.
Valencia are yet to hit their stride in the Primera División, but they took a step in the right direction in Gelsenkirchen when Villa latched on to Miguel's through ball and finished calmly after 63 minutes. "It was a big match against a strong team," Villa said. "We had to run and battle a lot in attack and defence. I'm satisfied with the performance of the whole team and that I scored the winning goal. I feel we played better tonight as we've been having a bad time in the league lately. This away victory is very important."
The 25-year-old scored four times in the UEFA Champions League last season as two-time finalists Valencia reached the quarter-finals. He was back on the scoresheet again here, but had to leave the pitch just before the end of the game after picking up a rib injury. Villa paid tribute to his side's resilience and to Schalke who pinned the Spanish team inside their own half for long periods.
"For a long time we were defending because we could not get out," said Villa. "Schalke can play the ball well so it was hard for us to get possession. They are a really good team. They were playing well but when we won the ball we had some good chances and one of them I was able to take. This win was an important way to start the group stage. We never had any doubts as we know we are a good team, but despite that it was a good win for us mentally."
Schalke striker Gerald Asamoah was desperate for his side to make a statement of intent in their first Group B game but believes they can improve on this showing. "We are disappointed because we wanted to start with a victory this season," he said. "But today we were unlucky in several situations and in others we were not clever enough. I hope that we will be better in the forthcoming games."
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