29th March, 2012
Valencia Football Club will this evening continue their search for continental trophy as they confront dutch side, AZ Alkmaar in their 1st leg quarter final of the Europa league.
The spanish team are yet to lose a game against a Dutch side, with their record in ten games reading W4 D6 L0, and they eliminated PSV Eindhoven in the round of 16. However, while they are unbeaten in nine UEFA Europa League fixtures, they have won just one in five on the road in Europe this season.
AZ, on their part, are unbeaten in eight European home games – six wins and two draws – and need a victory against Unai Emery’s men, given that they have won just once in their last 17 European away matches. Valencia are the only side left from the eight who transferred from the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Valencia coach Unai Emery admits that he is torn between the need to try and secure third place for his side in the Spanish Primera Liga or attempt to win the Europa League.
Valencia travel to play Dutch side AZ Alkmaar today on the back of two home defeats in the Primera Liga. Those results have seen Malaga draw level on points with his side in third place on the table.
Finishing third is important to Valencia as it would assure direct qualification for the Champions League next season.
Valencia, along with Athletic Club Bilbao, have played more matches than any side in Spain in 2012 with Copa del Rey and Europa League commitments.
That tiredness appears to have caught up with Valencia, but Emery admitted the chance of winning a European title was difficult to turn down.
“Football has two sides: one of them is the economic side and playing in the Champions League gives you that: But the other is the social side and feelings and the fans want to enjoy winning something and the Europa league gives the chance to do that,” he said, explaining the dilemma facing his club.
“We have to fight for the economic side of playing in the Champions League next season, and on the other hand, we have the social side, the excitement and the feeling of the fans towards winning a title,” he said.