Valencia CF25 April 2024

 Diego López: “We are going to go for Europe in the remaining six games”

The Valencia CF attacker speaks to the media

Valencia CF player Diego López spoke to the press on Thursday, to give his thoughts on the upcoming game against FC Barcelona and the season as a whole.

 FC Barcelona vs. Valencia CF

“It is always a very nice fixture. The only memory I have of it is of the 2019 Copa del Rey final that Valencia CF won. Any game between Valencia CF and FC Barcelona is a nice match to watch for spectators, and to play in for the players, because the football is always at a high level. Monday's match is going to be on par with all the previous FC Barcelona vs. Valencia CF games."

 The change of day for the game

“It doesn't affect us at all, but it does make us annoyed for the people who had their trips organised and can't go in the end. That wasn’t done well, but they are decisions that have been made. We are very grateful to the fans who are going to travel and the Valencia CF fans never let us down. There have been very few games away from home in which we haven’t sold out our ticket allocation. I hope we are up to the task and can make them happy.”

 Goals from wingers

“Lately, the wingers have been having little success in front of goal, but in the end what matters is that we pick up points. We have worked very well, both in the defensive aspect and on the counterattack - which is one of our virtues -, and I don't think it is all about the goals. We have quite a few assists and everything adds up. It's not just statistics, you also have to do certain things that are not reflected or valued as much as goals and assists, but which are as important -or more important- than scoring goals."

 Changes in formation

“It is not the same when Yaremchuk plays as when Almeida, Javi Guerra or I play. With Yaremchuk and Hugo Duro we have those two out-and-out forwards who can get onto the defenders more and, on the other hand, if we play players like Almeida or me, we can open up space much more, generating that space inside for Hugo or whoever to receive the ball. We have two different profiles. Baraja asks the same thing from all of us: Perseverance. Whoever plays responds well.”

 The possibility of European football

“Two years ago I was playing in Segunda RFEF, and I have gone from playing there to fighting to play in Europe. There is no doubt that the team want to play in Europe next year. That reward would be incredible and it motivates us to fight for it. We have the desire and ambition. In the six remaining games we are going to go for those spots. Whether we get there or not, in the end we will have had a spectacular season.”

 His experience at FC Barcelona

“I had some very good years there. I felt very comfortable and I met magnificent people who, luckily, I will meet up with again on Monday. At the time I hoped to continue there; things didn't work out that way, but things haven't gone badly for me since then. In fact, it has been good for me and thanks to this I am fulfilling a dream. Things happen for a reason. Today I am here and I am very happy about that.”

 The Olympic Games

“Who wouldn’t want to play in the Olympic Games, representing their country? It is something that I still have to continue to earn in these remaining 6 games. If I do well, I'll have a chance. I have to earn that and I hope I go to Paris.”

 His favourite position

“Last year I finished the season very well as a right winger. The end of the season was very good for me on a personal level in that position. This year I am changing positions more, but I adapt to that. That is what the coach requires and what he asks of me. Above all, if I play, I don't care where I do it. What I want is to play and help the team.”

 Baraja’s message to the dressing room

“He asks us to keep a cool head and, obviously, Europe is not something that we have to obsess over, nor something that we have an obligation to achieve. He wants us to continue working, to continue playing as we have done all year, and if we get into Europe it will be a reward for what we’ve done over the entire season. We have to be very calm, because the year we are having deserves credit.

 His individual performances

“It's my first full season. From the outside you can't see how difficult it is to be in a Primera División squad, the demands... in the end, on a mental level it is quite hard, you go through some ups and downs, depending on the stage of the season, but I think I can make a positive assessment of the season. I am performing at a high level.”

 The respective youth systems

“FC Barcelona’s youth system has been working very well all these years and has always produced good players, but here at Valencia CF the same thing is happening. You can see it with us. We have a very young generation, many of whom were playing in the reserve team before and have broken into the first team well. 

I think that the majority of teams have to trust a little more in their academies, because they get results and players come up with that desire and enthusiasm to get involved in professional football.

 In my case, I love football, I am obsessed with it and I think that there will be many more young people like me who would like to take that step up, and who would also do a lot for the first team at their clubs.”



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