Valencia CF had never lost to a Dutch club before last Thursday, but AZ Alkmaar put an end to that run and Jóhann Gudmundsson is hopeful they can repeat the dose in the decider at Mestalla.
AZ came under long bouts of second-half pressure during the first leg, but they resisted and Maarten Martens' 79th-minute goal earned a 2-1 lead at the halfway stage of their quarter-final tie. That experience will hold Gertjan Verbeek's side in good stead in Spain, according to Gudmundsson. "Now we've been out on the pitch against them, we know 100% how they play," the Icelandic international said. "We will see what we can do better next time round."
Gudmundsson, who has been capped 15 times by his country, added that some slight tinkering with tactics may be needed for the away return. "
I think when we go there, it's not exactly that we'll play in a different style, but we'll possibly be more compact," the 21-year-old said. "Hopefully we can score at least one goal and make life difficult for them."
That said, the striker is well aware of the task at hand, especially with Valencia holding an away goal. "They are all good footballers," warned Gudmundsson, who has made 12 UEFA Europa League appearances this season, qualifiers included. "Obviously Roberto Soldado is a really fine player and he had some good chances [in the first leg] but didn't score which was fortunate for us.
"Now they have to come out and try to beat us because we have a one-goal advantage so we have nothing to lose," added Gudmundsson, who is looking forward to playing at the "beautiful" Mestalla stadium for the first time. "We are obviously the underdogs in this tie so we'll just go there and relax and try to play our football and go through."
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