Valencia ready to send out message to Real
Valencia coach Unai Emery has warned Real Madrid they will not find Los Che as accommodating as during their last visit to the Mestalla when the two sides clash in the first leg of the Spanish Supercopa on Sunday.
Valencia had many low points last season but there were few as bad as when they hosted Madrid last October, when Bernd Schuster's side raced into a 4-0 lead after 37 minutes en route to a 5-1 mauling.
That defeat came just days after Quique Sanchez Flores had been sacked as Valencia coach and just prior to the arrival of Ronald Koeman, and the turmoil off the pitch did little to help results on it.
However, Emery, who took over at Valencia this summer, is confident Madrid will face a much different animal this weekend as the Copa del Rey winners play host to the league champions in the traditional Primera Liga season curtain-raiser.
'Sunday's game will be a very different match to the last. Now the team has the desire and strength to do things well,' said the 36-year-old Emery, who masterminded a shock 2-0 home win over Madrid last season when in charge of Almeria.
'I hope to see Valencia continually getting closer to what we want - intense, solid, who defend together, are brave in attack, and who have control of the ball during the game.'
He added: 'I want to eradicate the word 'fear' from the changing room. We cannot have fear of playing, of our opponents, or of oneself.
'We have to have the utmost respect, but we have to have personality, confidence and a positive attitude. It will be not be different because it is Madrid, we have to have our identity and should not change that just because of who we are facing.'
Emery received a huge boost this week when midfielder David Silva committed himself to Valencia amid speculation of a move away, while the club are also hoping to tie down the services of star striker David Villa.
Villa has been an injury doubt for Sunday's game but Valencia are keeping their fingers crossed that both he and former Madrid youngster Juan Manuel Mata will be fit for the game, although centre-back Carlos Marchena is definitely out.
Madrid coach Schuster has named an 18-man squad for the match, although he has a number of players unavailable.
Aside from Julio Baptista, who was this week sold to Roma, Schuster is also without Fernando Gago, Royston Drenthe and Marcelo due to Olympic commitments, while Fabio Cannavaro and Wesley Sneijder are injured and Pepe is suspended.
Brazil winger Robinho has been included in the squad though despite reports he wants to leave the club and join Chelsea, while Guti has been passed fit to play.
Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, who alongside the likes of Villa, Silva and Marchena helped Spain win Euro 2008 this summer, scored his side's third goal in that 5-1 win over Valencia last season, and he hopes they can enjoy more success this time around.
'We seem to do quite well at the Mestalla and we hope to continue this good run of form so that afterwards, in the Bernabeu, we can win (the Supercopa) and start the season with a title,' he said.