VALENCIA, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Valencia coach Albert Celades hailed Chelsea as one of the top teams in football ahead of their crunch Champions League match in Spain on Wednesday - but added that his side could still progress in the competition if they were to lose.
Valencia pulled off a surprise 1-0 win when the two sides met at Stamford Bridge in September, but Frank Lampard’s side have been on an outstanding run of form since, winning nine games out of 13 in all competitions.
Valencia, Chelsea and leaders Ajax Amsterdam are all locked on seven points after four games in Group H, and the match at Mestalla could be crucial to both side’s chances of progressing to the last 16 of the competition.
“Chelsea are a super team, one of the best in Europe and are playing very well at the moment,” coach Albert Celades told a news conference ahead of the game.
Captain Dani Parejo added: “They are one of the best teams in the world because of their name, their history and everything else. They are in fantastic form even though they lost to Manchester City the other day.
“But we have to focus on us. We have shown we can compete against any team, whether it’s in Spain or in Europe. We don’t need to motivate ourselves at all for this one given who we are up against and what is at stake.”
Valencia are under greater pressure to win the game than Chelsea, who face group minnows Lille at home in their final game next month while the Spaniards have to travel to Ajax, last season’s semi-finalists.
Celades, however, dismissed suggestions this was a do-or-die game for Valencia, who are 10th in La Liga and have not reached the knockout stages of Europe’s top competition since the 2012/13 season.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to try and reach the next round. But even if we don’t win we’ll still have a good chance,” he added.
“But we will go out to win the game first of all and then see what happens next. We are a big club and we have to have that type of mentality.” (Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)