Valencia CF18 May 2024

Baraja: "I would like to dedicate this last effort to the fans" 

The coach talks before the game against Girona FC

Rubén Baraja spoke in a press conference ahead of Valencia CF's final home game of the season, against Girona FC on Sunday evening.

The game against Girona

"They have competed all year at a high level. They are perhaps the most attacking team in LaLiga, the fastest in terms of their game. They have managed to get into the Champions League on their own merits. They have game-changing players on the wings and then a great finisher who has 20 goals in the middle. This translates into goals and points. They are a difficult team to beat and for us they are a team who give us the chance to compete at home against a good team. We had a good game in the reverse fixture but did not manage our advantage well in the final stretch. Valencia CF are always in the game at Mestalla."

The fan demonstration expected at the game

"We can't control it. I would like to... this is the last game at home, in a season in which you all know that our expectations were to improve on last season and not suffer so much... Mestalla has been key to us enjoying a season with their understanding, affection and support. The team have been able to compete at a high level at times. Many young players have grown with the affection and understanding of the fans. I would like to have our fans behind us in the last game at Mestalla this season. I would like to dedicate this last effort to them"

"The players have worked hard during the season. Our start helped us a lot, and after last season we took the good decision to set reasonable expectations -the minimum we needed to do this season to have stability. Our fans have been fundamental and are our best asset. That's why I would like to maintain that support, that unity from throughout the year, in the last game. We try to work to generate enthusiasm amongst the fans, so that they are proud of us. We have this last game left at Mestalla and I would like to be able to offer them that last effort and push to be able to beat Girona, a top team this year in LaLiga, and have a good game."

What he would like improve in the team next season

"There are two games left and six points at stake. We want to compete in the next game, we want to do things well and take points. There will be time to take stock and analyse the season. You always have to take time to reflect, to think about what the season was like, the objectives, the evolution. Look at what we can and cannot improve and what can be repeated. This year we have improved in many aspects but we still have to improve in many others. That is the idea for the future. We need to analyse with data."

Getting closer to the 'Ferrari' at the top of the league

Sometimes it makes me laugh. I said Skoda in my answer after the game against Real Sociedad, because it is a car with good performance.. We are a combative, hard-working team, which in the end is what that car represents for me. I find it curious that it was taken the other way. It's the car I use every day. We would like to work logically with the intention of being able to be and look further up the table."

Pepelu and Hugo Duro

"They're both doing better. Hugo Duro will be in the squad tomorrow. He had an adductor issue. Pepelu had a stomach problem, he didn't travel last time but he's fine. They'll both be there."

Missing out on Europe for a fifth season
 "I was fortunate to be in a successful Valencia CF side. Now it is different and we have to try to manage it as best as possible, have that ambition and demand that makes us get back to -or get closer to- those times. It's difficult, and you know that nowadays budgets greatly determine the possibilities of teams. That would be my wish. Let's see if, with the passage of time and as part of our process, we can reduce that gap to those other teams and be among the best."

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