Nuno Espirito Santo praised Valencia after the La Liga high-flyers boosted their UEFA Champions League hopes with a 2-2 draw at Real Madrid.
Valencia – fourth in the standings – moved four points clear of Sevilla, who are due to play on Sunday, in the race for the Champions League play-off spot despite surrendering a two-goal half-time lead at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Paco Alcacer and Javi Fuego both on target.
Goals from Pepe and Isco spared Real from defeat, but Valencia were undoubtedly the happier of the two teams after the final whistle on Saturday.
“The players gave their all. We saw a great game, between two teams that wanted to win. We are still on track,” Nuno was quoted as saying via Valencia’s official website.
“The team matched one of the best sides in the world. We have the youngest squad in La Liga and we leave here with our heads held high.
“We needed to be solid and precise and played a very complete game. It’s still down to us, we have two games ahead and we have to approach them in the same way.
“I have the best squad around, because I know how hard they work. Peter Lim is going to be proud, because he saw his team compete tonight.”
Alcacer, who opened the scoring in the 19th minute after guiding Jose Gaya’s cross beyond Iker Casillas, was not completely satisfied with the result, though he lauded the performance of Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves.
Alves saved Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-half penalty.
“We leave here stronger. We are aware of what is at stake in the final two games and we have to give our all to make this point count for something,” Alcacer said.
“It’s a good point, but it isn’t enough for us; we should have won.
“Diego Alves is showing that he is a world-class goalkeeper and is helping the team to reach our objectives.”
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