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25 June 2024

PSG more like Real than Barca -Valencia coach

Valencia's Argentinian midfielder Tino Costa (L) and Valencia's coach Ernesto Valverde give a press conference at Mestalla Stadium in Valencia on February 11, 2013 on the eve of their UEFA Champions League football match against PSG. (AFP)

By Reuters

Valencia are expecting a counter-attacking team such as Real Madrid rather than a possession-hungry side like Barcelona when they host Paris St Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday, coach Ernesto Valverde said.

"PSG are more similar to Madrid than to Barcelona," Valverde told a news conference on Monday previewing the last 16 first leg at the Mestalla.

"They are a team who have good players up front, who don't mind sitting back and who attack with speed," he added.

"Having the ball doesn't mean that you are dominating them, as they are a dangerous side."

Valencia will need to play better against big-spending PSG than they have against Real recently if they are to get past the Qatar-backed French side into the quarter-finals.

They were hammered 5-0 at home by the Spanish champions in La Liga last month and were also knocked out of the King's Cup by Jose Mourinho's side 3-1 on aggregate.

Against Barca they have had more success, holding the La Liga leaders to a 1-1 draw at the Mestalla this month.

"What we want is to get through this tie, even though they are the favourites, and go into the quarter-finals," Valverde said.

"We won't settle for just giving a good show of ourselves. We aren't here to look good in defeat. We compete to win.

"They are a club who are pushing to become one of the biggest in Europe, but that doesn't mean anything.

"Over 180 minutes we will see what happens. I don't care that they are favourites. The key is in the game."

PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti told a later news conference he agreed with Valverde that his side were effective on the break.

"We have a lot of players with speed," the Italian said.

"But our goal is to play football, not just to play on the counter attack," he added.

"I think this will be a good test for us to evaluate the capacity we have to play our football and not just on the counter but with possession of the ball."

The second leg is in Paris on March 6.