‘They play with big intensity… At the moment they are one of the best in Europe’: Valencia manager Albert Celades warns his players they will have to be on top of their game to beat Chelsea at the Mestalla ahead of crucial Champions League tie
- Group H is on a knife edge with Ajax, Chelsea and Valencia all on seven points
- Chelsea lost to Valencia at Stamford Bridge in the reverse meeting of the sides
- A win at the Mestalla will put Frank Lampard’s men in a strong position to qualify
- Valencia boss Albert Celades believes his team must produce a top performance
- Club captain Dani Parejo said the game would be like ‘a final’ for Valencia
Valencia boss Albert Celades admits his side will have to be at their best to beat Chelsea, who have developed into ‘one of the best teams in Europe’ under Frank Lampard.
The two sides clash at the Mestalla on Wednesday night in a crucial Champions League clash which Valencia captain Dani Parejo says represents a ‘final’ for the La Liga outfit.
A victory for either side will earn them a place in the last 16, while defeat would leave them staring down the barrel of elimination to the Europa League.
Valencia boss Albert Celades believes Chelsea are currently one of the best teams in Europe
Frank Lampard’s young squad are on course to qualify for the Champions League knockouts
Lampard’s side head to Spain on the back of a 2-1 defeat by Manchester City, but Celades is under no illusions about the threat they pose.
‘Chelsea have very good players, not two or three, a lot of good players,’ he said.
‘They play with big intensity and I think at the moment they are one of the best in Europe. They are playing very well. Watching the game against Manchester City you can understand the things they can do… we need to be at our best to beat Chelsea.’
Celades has warned his players they must be at the top of their game in order to beat Chelsea
Rodrigo scored a late winner for Valencia at Stamford Bridge to earn three points in September
The Valencia boss added: ‘Frank Lampard was a big player and he started his (coaching) career last year at Derby County and he did very, very well. That season was a big opportunity to arrive to Chelsea, be at a big level in the Premier League and the Champions League. Chelsea is a big team, with big players and a big coach. Tomorrow will be a difficult game.’
Ross Barkley missed a crucial late penalty as Valencia won 1-0 when the two sides met at Stamford Bridge on matchday one.
Lampard’s side were without N’Golo Kante that night but the French midfielder has since returned to full fitness.
The Valencia boss was complimentary about the job Lampard was doing at Chelsea this season
Chelsea were without N’Golo Kante in the last game against Valencia but he has since returned
On Wednesday night he will likely line up against Parejo, who hopes the ‘unique’ atmosphere at the Mestalla can help carry his side home.
‘Of course we did a great job and played a great game to win there… you have to be perfect, especially in this tournament,’ he said.
‘(Kante) is a great footballer. He proved it during his season in Leicester. He’s a great player, a very important player.
‘But they have (many) amazing players. Not only Kante – there is Jorginho, (Mateo) Kovacic, Willian and we have amazing players.’
He added: ‘We are ready to compete against anybody… this has to be a final for us.’