Valencia welcome fellow strugglers Real Valladolid to the Mestalla this weekend looking to get out of their current slump by collecting a badly needed win.
VALENCIA VS REAL VALLADOLID – MESTALLA STADIUM – SATURDAY 12TH JANUARY – KICK-OFF 3.15PM UK TIME
Los Che hit a new low for the season by losing 2-1 to second division side Sporting Gijón in the first leg of their last-16 Copa del Rey tie on Tuesday.
Valencia have been defeated in both of their games for 2019 and the pressure is beginning to mount on manager Marcelino García Toral, despite having led the club to a solid fourth-place last season.
General director Mateu Alemany has already had to deny rumours that Saturday’s game against Valladolid could be Marcelino’s last one in charge should they lose again.
Nevertheless, three points are a must for Valencia with the club still only five points above the drop zone in LaLiga in 11th-place.
Valladolid, on the other hand, will make the trip to the Mestalla on the back of two hard back-to-back defeats to Rayo Vallecano and Getafe.
After such a promising start on their return to LaLiga, La Pucela have come crashing back down to earth with just a single win in their last nine league outings.
Unlike their opponents, however, the pressure isn’t so great for Sergio González’s side which could give them an edge for this weekend.
Marcelino’s main concern is who will partner captain Dani Parejo at the centre of the Valencia midfield with Carlos Soler returning from suspension and Francis Coquelin making good progress in his recovery from a thigh injury.
Should Coquelin be unavailable, Danish full-back Daniel Wass could once again play in the midfield just like last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Deportivo Alavés.
Another bit of good news for Marcelino is the return of left-back José Gayà from suspension, which will likely see Toni Lato dropping to the bench.
But Mouctar Diakhaby (suspended), Geoffrey Kondogbia (muscular) and Gonçalo Guedes (hernia) will not be available.
Meanwhile, Valladolid coach Sergio has no fresh injury concerns with the only exception being Luismi Sánchez. The 26-year-old underwent ankle surgery recently and could be sidelined for up to four months.
Nacho, Rubén Alcaraz, Míchel and Kiko Olivas must all avoid another booking on Saturday or risk suspension.
Valencia (4-4-2): Neto; Piccini, Garay, Gabriel Paulista, Gayà; Carlos Soler, Parejo, Wass/Coquelin, Cheryshev; Santi Mina & Rodrigo.
Valladolid (4-4-2): Masip; Moyano, Kiko Olivas, Calero, Nacho; Keko, Míchel, Alcaraz, Toni Villa; Óscar Plano & Enes Unal.
Valencia 2-1 Real Valladolid