Valencia CF01 March 2024

Baraja: “Mestalla will again show that our fans are exemplary”

The Valencia CF coach talks ahead of the game against Real Madrid 

Valencia CF coach Rubén Baraja gave a press conference before his side’s Saturday night fixture against Real Madrid at Mestalla.

A busy month of March 

“If you want to be in this fight, competing in every game, having your objectives within touching distance, you have to keep picking up points. That is the requirement we have, thinking about each game, preparing it well and not setting objectives that do not correspond to us. This approach is positive for everyone and our objective will always be to win the next game. At the end of the season, we will make an assessment. Changing the discourse on the fly is not positive because it can lead us to generate expectations that don’t help us.”

The game against Real Madrid CF

 “The first half that we played at the Bernabéu was good, regardless of the scoreline. I think we had opportunities and we created chances, but in the second half, we didn’t compete well. Above all, we gave them the possibility to make their advantage very big, and we were not at our true level. This bothered me. We were not at our level. This is a completely different game, in which we have to try to do things better than we did there. It is a different scenario and we know the great difficulty the match poses, but we are going to face it with a great mentality and in front of our fans. We think that if we do many things well or border on perfection, we can have chances -and we are going to make the most of them. We are going to try to be faithful to what we have been doing up until now. We are going to try to find a way of playing in which they feel uncomfortable, pressure them, be intense and, above all, attack and create situations to generate goals. Hopefully, this will allow us to add a point or win the game.”

Possible overexcitement against Real Madrid CF 

“Every game is different. Last year’s game had a different context than now, and the one at the Bernabéu too... We don't think about the patterns being repeated again. Every game is different and I hope we are at our highest level to win this one.”

Players available

“Almeida, López and Correia are fine. They completed the last full week of training. In fact, for the game against Granada CF both André and Diego were in the running to be chosen, and for this game all three are available. Today's squad is great news because, for the first time this season, everyone is available and I am very happy to have the entire squad at my disposal. It is important that we can all be involved and push in this final stretch of the season.”

Almeida’s return “He is a guy who has gone through a complicated process. He has been out of the team for a long time and the first thing we look at is the person. Seeing him smile and seeing him having the possibility of playing again is the most positive thing. He gives us the final ball and continuity in our play... and he is a player that we have not had throughout the season. We will try to take advantage of his qualities.”

Real Madrid’s midfield

“It is the heart of their team because of the quality they have, the physicality, and we have to try to do things well so that this does not impose itself on us.”


“He is showing continuity in terms of games, minutes, experiences and performance. It’s very positive and this gives you the possibility that you can renew him, improve his capacity... but these types of things do not have to worry us. So far, the team have been competing well, we are on a good path and we have to be able to finish the season with the same demands. We have to maintain our ambition until the end.”

Diego Lopez

“He's ready and he feels good. He has great energy and  a great mentality, and he almost demands to be in the game. I have to slow him down a little.”


“At home we have been getting good numbers, and it is all about maintaining that in this final stretch, although it is not easy. At Mestalla we are strong and that is why we hope for the best version of our team tomorrow in the match.”


“I expect the best version of him. He is a magnificent player and he will want to have a good game. We will try to minimise his qualities, which are vast, and we have to do that as a team. Real Madrid play with 11 men; not only Vinícius, but also 10 other players of a very high level. We are not going to focus our game on him. We will try to neutralise Real Madrid. The response from the squad has been very good and that is why they are where they are.”


“He is a fantastic player. He plays great football, is a finisher, scores goals, has youth, energy, legs, hunger, ambition... he is a total footballer and I love him. We do not focus the games on the individual, but on the collective.”

The non-sporting side to the game

“We have already explained this situation many times. We know what happened last time they came here, how Valencia CF acted and how we tried to address this situation. We have always tried to remain firm in the fact that we do not consider it fair to be called things that we are not, and we propose that this situation has had to help us all to learn from it, including Vinícius, who is a magnificent player and I hope that he comes to Mestalla. Logically, he is going to represent his team and I hope that the talk is about sport. We want to have a good game and that our fans enjoy it. What happened is an episode that was unfortunate and it has to help us all look to the future and learn and, above all, focus on sports, which is our main objective."

A message for the fans

"We have a situation in which Mestalla will demonstrate what it is like again. We have nothing to prove and we have already shown historically that we are an exemplary fanbase in many things: The way we cheer on the team, how the crowd helps, how the players for Valencia CF feel supported. We know the tension and competitiveness that exists in this type of match and this is what I hope for. I hope Mestalla responds as it normally does. There are no tickets left, the fans are really up for it and it is a match in which I think Mestalla will once again show what it is: A diverse fanbase. In the end, they will make themselves felt during the game, but always with respect, which is what this fanbase represents. Tomorrow is an opportunity to once again show what kind of fans we are.”

Standing up for Mestalla

“I already commented on how Valencia CF acted. We all know that 3 people were immediately turned in to the Police to stop the situation and Valencia CF's response was quick -and fully complied with the regulations that we consider important at Valencia CF. Subsequently, I believe that 3/4 people can make a mistake or can act the way they did, but it does not justify calling the entire stadium or the city something we are not. We are not going to be continually demonstrating things that we have already shown throughout our history. We know that at Mestalla there is diversity and respect. I have no doubt that the fans will rally behind their team. It is a football match and we have to focus on that.”

Netflix’s access to the stadium being revoked

"I have nothing to say on the matter. The club have made a decision and that's it. I dedicate myself to the sporting side."

Tributes from Valencia CF to those involved in the Campanar fire

“The weekend was very hard for the people of Valencia, the city and for us. We did not feel strong enough to be able to go to that game against Granada after everything that was happening and the pain we felt. It is good that we pay tribute to all the people who managed to try to minimise the situation and applaud them because all the people who have gone out of their way to help were fundamental. I think the idea of a tribute is phenomenal.”

His dream of coaching Valencia CF

“Every game, the possibility of sitting in the dugout, going out to the touchline at Mestalla as a coach, is a source of pride, a privilege that I am enjoying. I hope that all that enthusiasm and energy that we have put in during the week gives us the possibility of have a good game, and that our fans can enjoy it. No matter what happens, we want people to go home saying that this is a team they identify with. This is something that our fans make us feel every game, as they sell out the stadium and follow the team, supporting this group of players who are growing a lot. We are very grateful and we want to give them this joy.”

Videos made by Real Madrid about referees

“I haven't been able to see them. The referees are great professionals and know how to handle these types of situations. The referee we are going to have tomorrow seems to me to be an excellent official, with a magnificent career, and I am convinced that he will know how to handle the situation without any type of problem.”

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