Villarreal boss Javi Calleja has said that he is treating each game for the remainder of the season as ‘cup finals’.
Calleja’s side will be looking to push on against Valladolid on Friday evening after re-hiring the Spanish coach just 50 days after he was sacked.
The tactician returned to the Estadio de la Ceramica – just 50 days after being sacked and his side produced a good first half display last time out against Espanyol last weekend.
Goals from Santi Cazorla and Vicente Iborra saw them race to a 2-0 lead, but having let that lead slip – the club’s fans felt an all too familiar feeling.
The Yellow Submarine sit 19th in the La Liga standings, having won just three of their games in 22 this term.
Friday’s game will be Calleja’s second since returning and he will be hoping that his side can get an all important win to close the gap on 18th place Rayo Vallecano.
“All the matches are going to be very important,” Calleja said to reporters. “All are until the end and this is also with a direct rival, a team that won at home and is a team that is difficult to harm They are a solid team, committed and always playing together.”
Valladolid, however, provide a stern test for the visitors with Sergio Gonzalez’ side improving of late, despite their last outing which saw them lose 4-0 to bottom side Huesca.
Six wins and seven draws in their opening 22 games sees them sit 14th in the league standings, but they will be looking over their shoulder at the relegation place, sitting just two points off Rayo.
Victor Ruiz is available after suspension and should return into a back three at the expense of Daniele Bonera.
Calleja is expected to go with Alfonso Pedraza and Miguelon as options at wing-back once again.
Karl Toko Ekambi and Gerard Moreno should also continue up top, which will see Samuel Chukwueze sit on the bench again.