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Valverde wary of Atletico threat

Valencia head coach Ernesto Valverde says upcoming La Liga opponents Atletico Madrid amount to more than just star striker Radamel Falcao.

The sought-after Colombian has scored 21 goals in all competitions so far this season, helping Atletico to third place but Valverde cites the team’s fighting spirit as their main strength.

“Atletico Madrid is not only (Radamel) Falcao,” he said.

“Falcao can be a problem for us, but Atletico is more than that. They have the spirit that keeps them on the top.

“They also have very good attacking players, like Falcao or (Diego) Costa, who is in very good form, but mainly, they have their spirit: They are always ready to attack and they put pressure on you from the first minute, and they have a very good offence.”

Valencia got the better of Atletico in the sides’ reverse fixture in November with Roberto Soldado and Nelson Valdez scoring.

However, Valencia face an uphill task to replicate that scoreline away from home on Sunday, with key players Soldado, Sofiane Feghouli and Adil Rami all ruled out.

“(Sofiane) Feghouli and (Roberto) Soldado are very important players for us,” the Spaniard said.

“We knew that Feghouli and (Adil) Rami weren’t able to play, but we were expecting Soldado to be ready.

“And that makes things more complicated for us, because his injury is very bad. He is a very important player. His absence will mean an important absence in attack.”

Sun 31 Mar, 2013
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