Valencia CF coach Unai Emery expects an attractive game when Chelsea FC visit on Wednesday but insisted there will be no room for sentiment as Juan Mata lines up against his former club.
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There will be no room for sentiment when former Valencia CF favourite Juan Mata returns to Mestalla in the colours of Chelsea FC on Wednesday. Unai Emery has urged the Spanish club's fans to come out in force, and his team to put on a show against opponents who are, according to André Villas-Boas, motivated and refreshed.
Coach Unai Emery
Tomorrow is a big game with the usual complications, but we feel confident. We know all about Chelsea but also know that we are a very strong side, even more so here at Mestalla. We are only focused on ourselves and want to produce a great game and a victory for our fans. Tomorrow every player wearing blue [including Mata] will be our enemy.
Chelsea defend and attack their own way, and we'll try to exploit this and hurt them. I expect a physical game and we have to be switched on. We respect all our rivals but this doesn't affect our philosophy of playing football.
We want a full stadium and it's our responsibility to put on a great show so the fans can enjoy a great game. I can't promise victory, but we will give our all to get one. We played our best match of the season against Barcelona [2-2 last Wednesday], but every opponent is different and we have to adapt to them.
In the Champions League there are many great teams, and we're one of them. Chelsea were the top seeds and we were in the second pot, but the favourites don't always win.
Saturday: Sevilla FC 1-0 Valencia (Kanouté 18)
Guaita; Bruno (Barragán 46), Rami, Víctor Ruiz (Soldado 71), Mathieu; Jonas, Maduro, Tino Costa, Banega, Piatti (Canales 63); Aduriz
• A Valencia team with six changes from the midweek 2-2 draw with FC Barcelona lost for the first time in ten matches. Aritz Aduriz was sent off, but only after Sevilla had been reduced to nine men.
David Albelda bruised his back against Barcelona and did not face Sevilla. Mehmet Topal tore a shoulder muscle in the matchday one draw with KRC Genk.
Manager André Villas-Boas
Our motivation is at the top at the moment. I think we made good decisions regarding rest and active periods; we have a good relationship in that balance and it showed against Swansea because we had nine fresh players on the pitch. Tomorrow we can put 11 strong players on the pitch because the talent we have at our disposal is out of this world and we just hope to make the right decisions.
Different players react differently when coming back home or to an emotional place. You just have to wait and see if [Mata] is going to be involved.
Valencia will be extremely motivated. They had a good game against Barcelona but lost at the weekend against Sevilla. They will try to get the three points. We have to believe in our philosophy. The game will be very fast and intense, and if we get to win the three points tomorrow we will be in a very good position to go through.
I am friends with Unai; we talk from time to time. I think he is one of the best coaches in Spain and I am very impressed by the way Valencia play football and by the way Unai motivates his players.
Saturday: Chelsea FC 4-1 Swansea City FC (Torres 29, Ramires 36 76, Drogba 90+4; Williams 86)
Čech; Bosingwa, Ivanović, Terry, Cole; Mikel, Meireles (McEachran 83), Ramires; Mata (Malouda 60), Torres, Anelka (Drogba 79)
• Fernando Torres took his Chelsea goal tally to three after scoring for the second straight game, though he was then sent off. Didier Drogba, back from a head injury, struck for the first time since 16 April.
Michael Essien is out for the group stage with a knee ligament injury.
Torres scored two goals in eight encounters against Valencia while at Club Atlético de Madrid and was sent off in the Rojiblancos' 1-0 home Liga defeat on 9 September 2006.