Valverde: Valencia must attack PSG
Valencia coach Ernesto Valverde says his side have no choice but to attack in Wednesday's Champions League last-16 second leg at Paris Saint-Germain.
Los Che looked to surely be heading out of the competition when 2-0 behind to the big-spending Ligue 1 outfit during last month's first leg at Mestalla, but a late Adil Rami header and then a red card for PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave Valverde's side some hope of a turnaround.
Even still the Primera Division side still need to score at the Parc des Princes at least twice to progress to the quarter-final, leading Valverde to tell Tuesday afternoon's pre-game press conference in Paris that he would send his players out to attack, without forgetting that PSG had shown their danger on the counter-attack during the first leg.
"We must score," he said. "We must know how to swim and look after our clothes but... we have to score. We know that PSG are very powerful on the counter-attack, and they made us pay very dearly in Valencia. We had the ball, we looked to attack, possession was ours, but the chances were theirs. We want possession that translates into chances, knowing that their counter-attack is dangerous, even without Ibra."
Valencia have not lost any of their last eight visits to France, a run stretching back to 1979-80, but PSG are unbeaten in 22 European home games, and have won their last seven European matches at the Parc des Princes.
Valverde said neither history nor PSG's position as heavy pre-game favourites would influence the outcome of the game.
"There is nothing written yet about tomorrow's game, we must write the story," he said. "We want to stay in the competition. We are not worried who is the favourite, the game is there to be played. Regardless of their advantage. We have a chance to make the next round and we will chase that right until the end."
Keeping a clean sheet may be a more serious issue for Valencia, with both Rami and his regular centre-half partner Jorge Costa unavailable through injury.
Either Jeremy Mathieu or Antonio Baragan - both full-backs by trade - or midfielder David Albelda will fill in alongside Victor Ruiz in the middle of the Los Che back four, Valverde said.
"I liked how [Mathieu] played there the other day [against Levante]," he said. "He is quick, good in the air, and brings the ball out well. There are other options too, like Albelda or Barragan. Mathieu has just recovered from a long-term injury, we will see how he is."