Valencia to push for Champions League following solid run


Valencia have forced their way back into the reckoning for a Champions League spot by the end of the season, following an unbeaten run of 11 La Liga games in 2019.

Marcelino’s last league defeat came in January at Alaves on January 5th, and they have risen up from 12th place at the turn of the year to 6th, as the season enters its final stage.

That consistency means they are on the tails of Getafe and Alaves, who are punching above their weight in 4th and 5th respectively.

The focus from the former Villarreal boss has been on improving as a defensive unit, and the attention paid to the back four has reaped dividends, with three clean sheets and just seven goals concerned in that 11 game run.

Left back Jose Gaya has played on every game of this run, with fellow full back Cristiano Piccini missing just one league game, as Marcelino looks to tighten up at the back.

In central defence, Los Che have looked to rotate as little as possible, with former Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista a mainstay, with his regular partner, the experienced Ezequiel Garay, returning from injury.

Those four players, as a unit, have formed the basis for the talent in midfield and attack to win games for them as they chase a second successive top four finish.

Whilst they have tightened up at the back, the factor that could derail Valencia between now and the end of the season is a lack of goals, with key figures not hitting the heights of last season.

At the same stage last season, Simone Zaza had netted 12 league goals, with Santiago Mina and Rodrigo Moreno scoring 11 and 15 goals respectively, with each player only scoring one more league goal after that in 2017-18.

The season, no player has scored over 10 league goals for the club, with Rodrigo top scorer as it stands, with six goals in league action.

They face a tough run of games between now and the end of the season, as they look to chase down their rivals, with ties at home to Real Madrid and rivals Alaves, and trips to Real Betis, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

There are still opportunities to pick up the much needed points, but Marcelino needs to find a way to get his strikers scoring goals again in the coming weeks if they want to complete their turnaround.

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