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Gent v Valencia: Gaya sees room for improvement as Spaniards eye last 16

Jose Gaya has called on Valencia to make further strides as they seek to seal qualification for the Champions League knock-out stages with victory at Gent.

The Liga side will ensure progression to the last 16 if they beat Gent on Wednesday and Lyon fail to claim all three points in their Group H clash with leaders Zenit.

Valencia are second in the group on six points in their first appearance in the Champions League since 2013, with Gent and Lyon both struggling having taken only one point from three games.

Nuno’s side have found life more difficult in La Liga after finishing fourth last season, and are five points adrift of the Champions League places 10 games into the campaign.

However, Valencia visit the Ghelamco Arena on the back of a morale-boosting 3-0 win over city rivals Levante.

And defender Gaya is keen for Valencia to build on that victory, telling their official website: “We struggled to get into the match, but in the end the team reacted.

“In the second half we were much better and with the first goal we gained a lot of confidence – after that we saw a better Valencia.

“We have not started well in the league but we have much room for improvement.”

Valencia won last month’s fixture at the Mestalla 2-1, with an own goal from Gent’s Stefan Mitrovic in the 72nd minute sealing the points.

The Belgian side’s hopes of avenging that unfortunate defeat may hinge on the fitness of forward Laurent Depoitre, who sustained an ankle injury in Gent’s 2-0 success at OH Leuven at the weekend.

Coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck is not expected to make a decision over whether to start Depoitre, who has seven goals in all competitions this season, until Wednesday.

Gent could also be without  midfielders Danijel Milicevic (thigh) and Brecht Dejaegere (knee).

Meanwhile, Valencia are likely to again be shorn of the services of central defender Aymen Abdennour, who has not played since late September because of a hamstring issue.

Belgian Pro League leaders Gent have yet to suffer defeat at home this season in all competitions.

In order for the hosts to maintain any hopes of progression, that record must be maintained against a confident Valencia team as Nuno’s men aim to seal their reward for what has so far been an impressive return to Europe’s premier club competition.

Mon 2 Nov, 2015
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