Champions League First Knockout Round – second leg (First leg: 2-2)
According to Valencia coach Quique Sanchez Flores, his side must keep their nerve and in order to overcome Internazionale and reach the last eight of the Champions League.
Inter have become something of a bogey team for Inter in Europe, winning 1-0 at the Mestalla in the last eight of the 2001-02 UEFA Cup for a 2-1 aggregate victory, before knocking Valencia out of the following season’s Champions League on away goals, and then hammering their hosts 5-1 in Spain in the 2004-05 group stage.
“I’ve told my players there will be no change in tactics just because we drew and scored two away goals in Italy,” declared Sanchez Flores.
“My challenge to them is to impose the same values, formation and attitude which have brought us this far in the Champions League and to third place in our domestic championship.
“The basic fact is that Inter are a dangerous team who have the capacity to score against any side. If anyone is looking for a comfortable game, this isn’t it. We have to set the tempo. The match there was very intense and demanding, so I want us to be more in control as we are at home.”
Ruben Baraja, Asier del Horno and Vicente Rodriguez returned to first-team action in Saturday’s victory over Celta Vigo, yet may not all be ready for 90 minutes against Inter. Fernando Morientes bruised a thigh but is expected to be fit tonight.
“I know the fans want revenge for that 5-1 defeat and I’d certainly welcome a big atmosphere to help us beat Inter. I can already feel it,” added Sánchez Flores.
Inter coach Roberto Mancini, is without Patrick Vieira and Esteban Cambiasso, and may weell be missing Adriano who has a hamstring problem.
“I don’t think a top-class match like this will be settled by who is, or who is not, injured,” claimed Mancini.
“I was very happy with the way we took control of the first leg and I’d have been delighted with the performance had Valencia not scored. I don’t necessarily think Valencia merited a draw but now we are here with an opportunity to put that right.
“People keep reminding us that Valencia haven’t lost at home in Europe this season and that they have a fantastic domestic record – but there is a first time for everything. Perhaps we will inflict their first and only Champions League defeat this season.”
Santiago Canizares; Luis Miguel, Roberto Ayala, Raul Albiol, Emiliano Moretti; Miguel Angel Angulo, Ruben Baraja, Carlos Marchena, David Silva; Fernando Morientes, David Villa.
Julio Cesar; Nicolas Burdisso, Ivan Córdoba, Marco Materazzi, Maicon; Luis Figo, Javier Zanetti, Olivier Dacourt, Dejan Stankovic; Hernan Crespo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.