"The favourites do not win all the time," said Bursaspor coach Ertuğrul Sağlam as the Turkish champions prepared to make their debut among Europe's elite against Valencia CF.
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Bursaspor coach Ertuğrul Sağlam has promised that the tournament debutants will represent Turkish football "in the best possible way" as they look to spring a surprise in their Group C opener against a Valencia CF side whose coach Unai Emery, new to the tournament himself, is not taking his hosts lightly. However, Emery will not be on the bench due to suspension.
Ertuğrul Sağlam, Bursaspor coach
Valencia have been strong at European level for many years and they won't be easy opponents. They lost some important players from last season but replaced them with new ones and as far as we can see from the analysis, they are a 'system team' who can play good team football. It'll be an extremely competitive game and Valencia can be seen as favourites but we want to make a bright start. The favourites do not win all the time and we'll try to show this. We'll face Valencia without changing the system which took us to success last season.
You need to have physical abilities in order to win games like this and we have this quality. We'll use this as an advantage tomorrow. When you look at Valencia, there are talented players like Joaquín Sánchez, Vicente Rodríguez, Juan Mata and Aritz Aduriz. When you look at us, you see Ozan İpek, Pablo Batalla, Sercan Yıldırım, Federico Insúa and Ivan Ergić. In my eyes, they have the same quality.
Unai Emery, Valencia coach
It will be my first experience of the UEFA Champions League as coach of Valencia. It will be a magical moment for me but I guess any person who works for the club would feel the same. I have been with the club for two years and we have dreamed of playing in the Champions League. It is impossible to guess how the match will go.
Bursaspor were an unknown side for us but we are learning more about them now. If a team has won the their league title, this is an indication of their standard. We have a lot of respect for their title success last season. Tomorrow our starting XI will be selected from the players who are capable of making the biggest contribution to our team. We have a lot of faith in them. When I watched Bursaspor's games on video, I could see how they won their championship. Rather than having individually talented players, Bursaspor play good team football. We have prepared for this, we won't focus on any given player but will try to unbalance their team approach.
Turgay Bahadır missed the matches against Galatasaray AŞ, Sivasspor and Eskişehirspor with a knee injury but has been declared fit and both Milan Stepanov and Ivan Ergić have recovered from knee problems to start Friday's league game.
Éver Banega (ankle) and Vicente (sprained hamstring) will both miss the Bursaspor game after being taken off on Saturday, but Jérémy Mathieu (hamstring) and Alejandro Domínguez (knee) returned to action against Real Racing Club, while Roberto Soldado (torn adductor muscle) was an unused substitute. Domínguez is a doubt, however.
10/09/10 Bursaspor 2-1 Eskişehirspor
(Núñez 70, Sercan Yıldırım 76; Sezer Öztürk 19)
Bursaspor have made a fine start to their title defence, beating Konyaspor, Galatasaray, Sivasspor and Eskişehirspor in their first four Süper Lig games. Sezer Öztürk's opener was the first league goal Sağlam's side have conceded this season.
11/09/10 Valencia 1-0 Real Racing Club
Match-winner Hedwiges Maduro was one of two players drafted into the side which beat Málaga CF 3-1 on the opening day of the Liga season, along with Jordi Alba. David Albelda made his 400th appearance for the club against Racing.
Did you know?
Sağlam's charges are the first team from outside Istanbul to have claimed the Turkish title since 1984 and, ignoring their dalliance with the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1995, have not won a match on the European stage for 36 years.
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