Valencia coach Claudio Ranieri paid tribute to opponents Inter after their 5-1 victory over his side at the Mestalla.

“All I can do is to congratulate Inter,” the Italian coach told a post-match news conference.

“They played incredibly well and reminded me of the great Milan side of some years ago.

“I think they will be an even better side in two or three months time.

“We did everything we could and my players tried really hard, but they were just too good for us tonight.”

There was little sign of the drama to come in a goalless first half, but after the break, goals from midfielder Dejan Stankovic and striker Christian Vieri broke the deadlock in the space.

Valencia reduced the arrears through Pablo Aimar, but the Serie A side restored their two-goal lead three minutes later through substitute Andy van der Meyde.

Brazilian striker Adriano added a fourth before substitute Julio Cruz completed the rout in injury time.

“Inter moved the ball with one or two touches throughout the game,” said Ranieri.

“They have an exceptional player in Adriano, but their whole team is packed full of quality players.”

The victory left Inter with a maximum nine points at the top of Group G, three ahead of Werder Bremen, who beat bottom side Anderlecht 2-1, and six ahead of Valencia.

Inter manager Roberto Mancini admitted that although he expected to win the ganme, the margin of victory came as a surprise.

“I thought we would win and I was prepared for a powerful performance, but I did not expect a result like this,” he said.

“I don’t think Valencia played that badly but they were hit hard by our goals early in the second half. I just wish the games always went like this and the results were always so clear.”