"A wonderful tie but a very difficult one," was Ernesto Valverde's take on Valencia CF's last-16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain FC, who were relieved to have avoided Real Madrid CF.
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Valencia CF coach Ernesto Valverde is relishing a "wonderful tie" against Paris Saint-Germain FC in the UEFA Champions League round of 16. The Spanish side have recent experience of facing Ligue 1 opposition after beating LOSC Lille 2-0 and 1-0 in this season's group stage. Valencia have an excellent record against French teams – they have won 13, drawn four and lost just once in 18 games. Meanwhile, PSG sporting director Leonardo, formerly a player at Mestalla, is looking forward to being reunited with the club's "unbelievable fans".
Ernesto Valverde, Valencia coach
They have great individuals in their team and could even sign more shortly, but who knows [what form] they will be in come February. It's a wonderful tie but a very difficult one. We will see two open games and hopefully we will have the chance to go further in the UEFA Champions League.
Fernando Giner, Valencia director
Having made it to the best 16 teams in Europe, you're always going to get a hard opponent. We are also a difficult team to play because we have made it this far. It will be a tough match, particularly because in these knockout ties, playing the first leg at home and the second away, you have a little advantage. We will try to achieve a good result at home, because I think we can score away.
The team is very much involved in this competition, because we know the joy we can give to our fans by making it through this tie and continuing towards the final. The fans will certainly respond. To be among the best 16 teams in Europe is very important, and Mestalla has always responded well to such moments.
Leonardo, PSG sporting director
It is unclear whether this is a good draw or not – we will not know until the return leg. In any case, it will be [two] great games. It will be a tough tie against Valencia, who have a lot of experience. Valencia have played in two Champions League finals [2000 and 2001]. All will depend on us, we hope to play well. I played for Valencia 20 years ago, the fans are unbelievable. We are happy to be going there.
Carlo Ancelotti, PSG coach
The most dangerous team were Real Madrid, but Valencia are historically very good in the Champions League. Things will be different in February; they will be fitter, with a better team spirit. On paper, Valencia are a better draw than Real Madrid. Our aim is obviously to reach the quarter-finals, but we have two games to play before that and the second leg will be tough. I am not saying it is an easy draw, but if we play our best, we can qualify.
Valencia and PSG have never met in UEFA competition.