Valencia CF03 February 2024

Baraja: “The effort was rewarded today”

Rúben Baraja talked to the media after a 2-1 win for Valencia CF at Mestalla, on Matchday 23 of the LaLiga campaign.

The match

It was a difficult and complicated match at times. We started the game very well, leading 2-0, with a good disposition, and effective finishing always helps. We had the chances to go 2-0 up, but we knew that Almería, despite their situation, had competed well at the Bernabeu and at Montjuic. We knew we had to score the third and kill the game off. We didn’t start the second half well and that gave us doubts.

In the final part of the game things settled down and we didn’t push, and instead we defended the scoreline well. It was a very competitive and difficult match and it means a lot to take the 3 points at home, with the difficulty that that entails. Today the players' efforts were rewarded.

Diego Lopez

We know that he suffered a very strong blow to his cheekbone, with an arm or elbow, and we are awaiting the results. It is the negative note from the game, that we might lose Diego for a while, because he is a player who gives us energy and electricity, is very incisive on the wing, and is a player who transmits that and infects the rest of us with it.

Roman Yaremchuk and Hugo Duro

Roman had been in good form until he got sick, and at home with two strikers he helps us to be able to finish from crosses, like those that gave us the two goals today. They did a good job together and they linked up well. If you win a game and your two forwards score goals, it is good for Roman and for Hugo Duro, who continues to maintain that scoring run. It is very important that your forwards score goals

The referee

It was a very difficult match to referee because there were many circumstances and situations that were difficult to see in the moment: The possible second penalty came from a rebound, meaning it would not be a penalty, and it was the right call. The penalty on Diego was clear, because there was contact, the disallowed goal hit him on the hand. It’s very difficult for the referee, and today the decisions he got right favoured us, but other times it has been the opposite.


Crishtian had a very demanding game. He was fatigued and tired, but I don’t think he has any problem. His performance level has been high. Also, Cenk, who had not participated for a while, was solid in the challenges and duels. The team competed at a good level and when that happens you are closer to winning.

A hard fought win

There are games where we have also had to suffer, because winning in the Primera Division is very difficult. We could have been able to make the difference with the penalty, we were not able to convert it, and then on the counterattack they almost made it 2-2. You have to hold on tooth and nail when you have a scoreline in your favour. The changes gave us energy, Jesús, Alberto and Almeida were impressive and then it was difficult for Almería to create situations against us.

It is very difficult to win in the Primera Division. It's difficult to win against a team that doesn't get results, because you may think it's going to be easier, but they made it very difficult for us.

Winning through suffering needs a lot of courage and maintaining this form at home is something to be satisfied with. Winning takes a lot and today we had to suffer until the end.

Rafa Mir

Corona has spoken and explained what happened on the final day, and the circumstances that occurred. It is always important that things are explained. Talking about the same thing again when an explanation has already been given in the first person is not necessary. It was what I wanted: That things that happened were explained, and that's it. Valencia CF tried to get Rafa Mir with us and it wasn’t possible. The window has already closed. I can't tell you anything else.

Hugo Duro

The change for him lies in many things: The change in role to being an important player, the coach's confidence in him, his change in mentality, trying to take advantage of each situation, good training... When you have positive dynamics everything turns out better for you. The credit for the change is down to him, as he accepted the challenge. We provided him with more demands to have more concentration and tension and achieve a radical change. I'm very happy for him, but as I always say, the objective is to go as far as possible, giving the maximum.


Our fans know that they can express themselves as they deem appropriate. It is true that there is a lot of difference when we manage to generate that atmosphere, when people are not exposed to a certain uncertainty about the approach.

We can't be more grateful for their support, because we understand their way of expressing themselves. The fans are here throughout the year, but what we like is that in the final part of the game they help the players when they make a mistake. You see that the fans are behind you, that they support you. That is what satisfies us. It was a difficult game also for that reason, because we had to bounce back from a bad game at the Metropolitano. We are happy with the result, we will recover well and think about the next game.

Looking ahead

Our objective is to try to ensure that Valencia CF are in the Primera Division next season, to stabilise the club in terms of what we experienced last season, improve what we experienced last season and not suffer. If we achieve that, our next objective is to compete in every game. Looking any further can generate frustration and anxieties. We have to prepare for each game and see how far this goes. We will try to be ambitious and have that spirit of competing in each game, then the table will put us where we deserve at the end of the season

The fans

I'm not here to assess whether I understand it or not. I am the coach of Valencia CF and I want our fans to support us from the first minute to the 90th, and for the team to give the people what they want, for there to be a unity, as we are seeing. If the fans want to show their disagreement we have to accept it because the most important thing about the club is them. The players will come and go, as will I, but the history of the club remains because of the fans. We have to respect their way of expressing what they feel and try to show with our work and focus on football, which is the fun part. We are in a good position and why not enjoy this moment if we can? But I also understand their protests because I am not here to assess whether it is appropriate or not.

Collective work

Hugo is understanding that it is not only goals he has to contribute, but also the dirty work of pressing. He continues to put in the effort, doing one action well and thinking about the next. He has improved a lot and it is this mentality that makes him consistent. He interprets things well when we have the ball, sees where we can go deep and is growing as a player. Strikers aren’t only about goals. Also, with the ball he has improved a lot. It is a very good time for Hugo Duro.


Copyright 2013-2024 Valencia CF. The use of the editorial content of the article is permitted as long as the source gets the credit and contains the following link: Photographs by Lázaro de la Peña, reuse is not permitted.

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