Valencia CF10 April 2024

Cenk: “We want to maintain our defensive solidity”

The Valencia CF player speaks to VCF Radio

Valencia CF defender Cenk Özcakar talked to VCF Radio on Wednesday to give his verdict on the final run-in in LaLiga.

The victory against Granada CF

“In Granada it was a fairly intense, difficult match, but we are very happy with the victory and having taken the 3 points. It is important to always take points, and now we are returning to training with great desire and enthusiasm.”

The match against CA Osasuna

“As we always say in the dressing room, we continue working day-by-day, because the most important thing is today. Then when we move on to tomorrow, then the day after. We know it's going to be a difficult game. Last year we won there, but this year it will be a tough match. We know how we have to play, how we have to fight, because it is going to be a very intense match. Osasuna are a very organised team. We have to maintain this level of fight and give all the energy we have on the field of play. If we win, it will be a very important step forward for us.”

The final stretch of season

“There are 8 games left and everyone is going to remember how we finish. They will be 8 ‘finals,’ but we won’t get ahead of ourselves. The coach has always told us that there is no rush because we have done a good job so far, although we haven't achieved anything yet. It is important to finish well and we have to put the icing on the cake. We follow the path established by Baraja. When he says something, we follow him.”

Differences to the 2022-23 season

“There are many differences from last year to now.  In 30 games, we have already taken 44 points. This year, right from the beginning, we were talking about finishing higher than last season. We are working for that and we have a good atmosphere in the dressing room. We are going to fight and then we will see where we end up.”


“We have learned from Baraja and we know what the coach asks of us. We are always close to drawing or winning. Our mentality is to defend and attack together. When you keep a clean sheet there is always the possibility of scoring a goal and winning the match. If you defend and attack together you are always closer to victory. On the pitch, we always think about what Baraja asks of us. I haven't seen any dressing room like ours, because whoever plays, no one sulks. We always want to train at a good level and regardless of who plays, we are always united. Last year we also had a good dressing room, but this season it is even more so.”

The team’s identity

"It is important. From the first day Baraja arrived, he has always been clear about this, and that helps us a lot. We know how we have to play every game. Sometimes we use different formations and movements, but when we listen to Baraja we are always on the right track. Our idea is to defend well and stick together, and it’s the same when we attack.”

Defensive solidity

“We want to maintain our defensive level. This is down to everyone. Defending starts from the forwards. It is a collective job. We are very happy about not having conceded in the last few games and we want to continue like this until the end of the season. We work every day to improve and score more points.”

A good collective display

“There is not much difference with whoever plays, because our mentality, instilled by the coaching staff, is that objective does not change. We have a good relationship between teammates and that is why, now that I am back in the starting lineup, I am adapting quickly to the team.”

His individual performances

“I'm still not performing at my best level and that's why I work hard every day to be the best I can be, to help my teammates and because I am here at this club.”

The demands ahead

“I know that the fans are very demanding of the team, but I always think that it is because they believe in us a lot. This level of demand helps us a lot. Without pressure or being demanding it is not possible to get where we want to go, so that is why this will help us. The fans are always behind us and I hope we can finish as high as possible.”

The fans

“When we play at home it is easier to get games underway with that demand, pressure, motivation and energy, but if we want to finish as high up the table as possible, we have to have that away from home as well. We have to be stronger than ever.”

Going to the European Championship with Turkey

“I always think about being able to play for the national team at any time, but to be able to do that, first you have to perform at a good level with Valencia CF. Valencia CF is more important than everything else: If I do well here then I can be called up for the national team. I don't think much about the future. Now I am 200% focused on Valencia CF. and later we will think about the rest.”

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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