Valencia finished fourth in the Spanish La Liga this season, booking their place in the Champions League in the first time in two years, while amassing their second highest points tally of their entire modern history (77). It’s largely gone unnoticed what a good campaign Los Che have enjoyed, taking four points from both meetings against the likes of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal and Sevilla. It’s an impressive achievement, and could set them up for a big campaign in 2015/16.
Their return to the Champions League could be a distraction, but Valencia are looking to strengthen this summer to ensure they have the squad capable of challenging on all fronts. They certainly have a fantastic platform to build on, boasting the second-least amount of league defeats (5), best defensive record at home, and having undergone a 10-match unbeaten run between February and April. Manager Nuno enjoyed a dream debut season with the club, and will be looking to take the club to the next level.
They need to retain their top talents in the side, and they can continue their gradual progression in the table next season. The likes of Nicolas Otamendi, Daniel Parejo, Pablo Piatti and Paco Alcacer in particular are key to ensuring of a strong league campaign in 2015/16, and fending off any interest will be pivotal to their future title chances.
Valencia will need a favour favourites Barcelona and Real Madrid to slip up perhaps more than usual over the course of a season, but the Los Che must do their job too and turn their 11 draws into wins to challenge the upper echelons. There are many positives to 2014/15 that the Spaniards can look to enhance for the following campaign, where the aim will be to challenge for their first title since 2004.
In those 11 years, the closest Valencia have come was their third place finish in 2005/06 where they were 13 points adrift of eventual winners Barcelona at the end of the season. This campaign, Los Che finished 17 points off title-winners Barca, and are looking to bridge the gap. Atletico Madrid’s shock title triumph in 2013/14 start in a similar way, with Diego Simeone’s men slowly climbing the table and hovering on the cusp of the top two for a season or two.
Valencia have enjoyed one of the best seasons of their history, regarding their points tally and a selection of impressive statistics, but can they challenge for the La Liga title in 2015/16?