Thursday, January 19, 2017

Valverde backs Rami to deal with Ibra

SoccerNews in La Liga 11 Feb 2013

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Valencia head coach Ernesto Valverde says his French defender Adil Rami can handle Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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PSG head to Valencia on Tuesday for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 tie and while Valverde is wary of the threat posed by the big-spending Parisian club, he remains convinced his team can match them.

Ibrahimovic, who has scored 21 goals in as many games in Ligue 1 this season, received praise from Valverde but Valencia’s head coach believes his back four, and Rami in particular, can keep PSG’s leading marksman quiet.

“Ibrahimovic is a great player, something we have to be conscious of, not just Rami but the whole defence,” Valverde said.

“He is a player that is capable of amazing things, not just because of his size but also because of how he plays, as well as that he is a goal scorer who drops deep to get the ball when his team is not playing well.

“But we are confident that Rami can handle Ibrahimovic and the other players, it’s not all about Ibrahimovic.”

When Valencia drew PSG before Christmas many expected the French club to easily advance but Valverde is confident his side has the form to trouble the Ligue 1 leaders.

Valencia have not lost in four matches, including draws with Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey and Barcelona in La Liga, and Valverde believes PSG will find it tough at the Estadio de Mestalla.

“We are enjoying a good run of form and are fully motivated, these types of games are a great opportunity for us, opportunities we have in front of us and that we need to take,” Valverde said.

“We are up against a great team with great players and this is a competition where everyone is at their best, so while the draw was a long time ago we are now in a good place.”

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