VALENCIA, December 12 (Champions League) - Valencia's misery at getting knocked out of Europe looks set to be compounded with the loss of star striker David Villa for this weekend's home clash against Barcelona.
Villa was forced out of Tuesday's Champions League match against Chelsea shortly after half-time, and tests on Wednesday morning have confirmed the Spain international has a suffered a tear in his thigh muscle.
That is expected to keep Villa out of both the Barcelona match and next week's Copa del Rey meeting with Real Union, and possibly the club's final game of 2007 against Real Zaragoza.
Valencia coach Ronald Koeman admitted after the clash with Chelsea that they could have done without this latest injury setback.
'It is a big blow to be without him,' said Koeman.
'We have suffered with injuries this season and this is just another blow for us. Villa had a great game and I think we are getting better as a side.'
Although Valencia managed to hold Group B winners Chelsea to a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge, it was not enough to prevent the stuttering Spanish giants from finishing bottom of the standings and tumbling out of Europe.
'We tried to play on the counter-attack but suffered when it came to the final ball,' said Koeman.
'We swapped Vicente and Villa around to help improve the situation and that helped us get better as the game went on.
'We hadn't conceded in our last few games, but we've had seven, eight or nine players out injured this season and this has affected the team.'