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Apr 19, 2013

Valverde plays down off-field troubles

Valencia coach Ernesto Valverde says the club's fans are more concerned with their players winning games on the field than executives fighting battles in the boardroom.

The turmoil at heavily indebted Valencia has continued this week, with Federico Varona resigning as president of the foundation that, on paper, owns the club, after less than two weeks in the position. Los Che president Manuel Llorente himself stepped down recently in protest at interference from the foundation and meddling from the Valencian regional government, which also claims a stake in the club.

All of this has overshadowed Valverde's preparations for Saturday evening's game at the Mestalla, when sixth-placed Valencia host fifth-placed Malaga in a clash that could go a long to way to deciding Champions League qualification for next season.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the game, the former Espanyol and Athletic Bilbao boss said the focus should really be on what happens on the pitch, not off it.

"We are Valencia, the XI who take to the field," Valverde said. "That is what everyone is going to watch. The fans do not come to Mestalla to see if the directors fight among themselves, or if there are more or less sponsors. They come to see if one of their players can get past an opponent in a one-on-one on the pitch."

Los Che captain Roberto Soldado said this week that all the uncertainty about the club's future was affecting the players, while Valverde himself has yet to agree a new contract to continue next season.

The Valencia boss declined to go into detail about his own future, saying that he was more interested in things he could influence - such as the game against Manuel Pellegrini's dangerous Malaga side.

"Neither I nor the players are isolated from what happens at the club, but we are not experts and neither do we know what is going to happen next week," Valverde said. "But more important than the instability, we are going to face [Julio] Baptista, Joaquin and Isco. We will not have time to think about the social side of things."

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