Valencia head coach Marcelino acknowledged that Thursday’s 3-1 Europa League quarter-final first-leg win at Villarreal probably flattered his team.
After Goncalo Guedes gave Valencia an early lead, Villarreal were generally the better team and dominated for much of the match – Santi Cazorla equalising from the spot in the 36th minute.
But as the Yellow Submarine tired towards the end, Valencia finished them off in the all-Spanish affair.
Daniel Wass’ fine effort in the 90th minute put the visitors ahead and Guedes wrapped things up on the break soon after.
Marcelino accepted the result is harsh on Villarreal, though he does now expect Valencia to reach the semi-finals.
“We started very well,” he told reporters. “A rather dubious penalty, very doubtful, put Villarreal in the game, they had two chances and in the second half had more.
“They were not effective thanks to a good performance from Neto and in the final stretch we dominated the game.
Looking forward to the second leg at MESTALLA
— Valencia CF English (@valenciacf_en) April 11, 2019
“With Villarreal looking for the 2-1 goal we were able to generate good situations and we leave with perhaps a flattering result when you consider the merits of one team and the other.
“That leaves us, frankly, facing the semi-finals well. The final result is extraordinary. During the course of the match it seemed that Villarreal were more complete.”
Villarreal counterpart Javi Calleja agreed with Marcelino’s summary and just feels his team ran out of steam in the final 15 minutes.
“We have done 75 very good minutes in which we have dominated, and we have generated chances,” Calleja added.
“But the last 15 minutes we’ve been punished physically. They were fresh and with clear ideas and have ended up doing us a lot of damage.”
Likely elimination from the Europa League will at least allow Villarreal to put all of their focus on LaLiga, as they sit in the bottom three with seven matches remaining and Thursday’s performance at least gave Calleja hope.
“Look at the 75 minutes we have done, because playing like that I have hope,” he said. “I think football cannot [continue to] be as unfair as it is being with us.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!