Although qualification for the knockout stages is assured, Valencia coach Quique Sánchez Flores does not want to see his players take it easy for the visit of an Olympiakos side fighting for their Champions League lives.
Sánchez Flores believes his injury-hit Valencia side will have to work hard to avoid an upset tonight.
“People say our 4-2 win in Greece on the opening day was a bit anarchic but we’ve studied Olympiakos closely and they are much more disciplined when they play away from home,” Sánchez Flores said.
“They have decisive, quality players – particularly Nery Alberto Castillo and Rivaldo,” he added. “Everyone associated with Valencia can remember the hat-trick Rivaldo scored against this club five years ago for Barcelona to edge Valencia out of Champions League qualification. But I’m more concerned with what he can still do. He has a glorious past but he remains a top-quality forward.”
The coach has Mario Regueiro fit again, but nine players are missing through injury including Edu, ruled out for at least six months after suffering a cruciate injury in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Sevilla.
Olympiakos coach Trond Sollied admitted that this is a perfect time to play Valencia.
“Things are not going as everyone at Valencia would want right now,” the Norwegian said. “I think if we have a very good game then we can certainly take a point, but if we produce an absolutely top performance then we can win. If we have the display I am asking for, anything is possible.”
The Greek side, who will be without Marco Né in midfield, need Roma to lose to Shakhtar as well as victory in Spain to stay in qualifying contention.
Yet with Rivaldo in scintilating form of late, all hope is not lost
“What I did to Valencia in the past must remain in the past because this is an entirely different situation,” the Brazilian said. “But it does motivate me to return to Spain where I had so many good times, and if Valencia are a little off colour, as I believe they are, then perhaps we can create a shock.”
Santiago Cañizares; Luis Miguel, Roberto Ayala, Raúl Albiol, Curro Torres; Joaquín Sánchez, Rubén Baraja, Miguel Pallardó, David Silva; Miguel Ángel Angulo, Fernando Morientes.
Antonios Nikopolidis; Athanasios Kostoulas, Júlio César, Abdeslam Ouaddou; Anastasios Pantos, Predrag Djordjevi?, Ieroklis Stoltidis, Rivaldo, Micha? ?ew?akow; Nery Alberto Castillo, Yiannis Okkas.