Friday, March 23, 2018

Nuno focuses on Monaco clash amid Otamendi talk

SoccerNews in La Liga 18 Aug 2015


Valencia coach Nuno expects an update on Nicolas Otamendi’s possible move to Manchester City in the near future and is focusing his attention on Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League play-off against Monaco.

Argentina centre-half Otamendi is thought to be in England discussing the details of a move to the Etihad Stadium having enjoyed a stellar season as Valencia finished fourth in La Liga.

That earned them a Champions League berth and a clash with Monaco – the winners will advance to the lucrative group stage – and Nuno insists his thoughts are firmly on that tie.

He said at Tuesday’s press conference: “I understand that you want to ask about Otamendi, but I ask you to respect this press conference because the match is very important. We’ve been preparing for the match without Otamendi for some days and that’s the most important thing.

“The level of training is still great and we are excited about tomorrow. The players are only focused on the opponents.”

When pressed, he added: “The issue of Otamendi is being dealt with by the club. We will know the outcome soon, but my job is to focus on tomorrow’s game.

“Until it is all finalised we cannot think about signing another player. The club has the necessary procedures for it and we trust in the players that remain.”

Otamendi was arguably the stand-out defender in La Liga last season and his possible departure will leave a large hole in the Valencia defence.

Nevertheless, Nuno has set his players the target of a clean sheet against Monaco at Mestalla.

“Monaco are a great team with players of great quality,” he said. “We are ready, we have done all the preparation to compete, but we know it will be difficult. We play in front of our fans, but we know the tie will not be resolved [in Wednesday’s first leg]. 

“Certainly keeping a clean sheet is very important. The away goals play a vital role, but we must not think about that. We are at home, we want to play our game and go for goals. We want to be in the Champions League.”


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