Valencia CF20 April 2024

RUBÉN BARAJA: “We are going to fight for every point until the end”

VCF coach gives his thoughts after a tough loss at home vs. Real Betis (1-2)

Rubén Baraja, coach of Valencia CF, analysed the loss against Real Betis on LaLiga Matchday 32

The analysis of the match

The feeling that I have is that there are 6 games left and we have to continue working and thinking about the possibilities we may have. If we analyse it, today we weren’t at our usual level. The team were uncomfortable and we had little continuity with the ball. We tried to modify that at halftime with Sergi Canós coming on, and when we were not generating much the penalty came along and got us into the game. Those were the best minutes of the game, then it was 1-2 off an action in which we didn’t do things well: We let them keep the ball and we were a little unlucky with an uncontrollable rebound. It wasn’t to be, but we made a great effort and that has to help us learn and keep going. There are six games left in which we have to continue to do things well. If you are not at your best level against a side like Real Betis, they can beat you.

Learning from the game

It is not easy to play this type of game. You have to play at a very high level and you cannot make mistakes. When it was 1-1 we had to have the finishing to take the lead and if not, hold on for a draw, which would have given us the possibility of taking a point and leaving Real Betis behind us. We have to learn that, in order to compete, we have to be ourselves for the entire 98 minutes.

His message for the players

The next match is also worth 3 points. They are worth the same. You have to have continuity with your scoring and with picking up points. Today, unfortunately things didn’t work out. You have to accept it and move on without dramatising it, as that’s part of football too. If you don’t play well, the opponents can beat you, especially a team of this calibre. You have to live with situations like this and with a game like this. This has to help us, without a doubt.

Valencia CF’s best spell in the game

I believe that Real Betis had control. There was a goal and an effort from Isco, but at halftime, after a first half that was not good on our part, we had a chance. We tried to make changes that helped us go deeper, reach the area and have more actions near to goal, but we lacked the finishing to make it 2-1. In the end, it was level and when we were at our best they made it 1-2. We had several crosses in and we could have levelled again, so we have to accept that days like today cannot happen very often for us.

The dressing room

The second goal was a blow. Real Betis can beat you. We are going to continue competing. Was it a missed opportunity? We have already achieved our objective and that is important when it comes to assessing the level of the players. Mestalla was amazing. After we got back to 1-1 they pushed us to try to get the victory. We weren’t successful, then when we were playing better they finished us off. We have to accept it. You can lose games.

Fighting back during games

We came back in the first half. We needed to score the second or even confirm the draw, which would have been positive. We haven't lost at home since September, we had been consistent, but one day an accident can happen or you may not be at your best. There are six games left: Three at home and three away. We are going to fight for every point to do our best.

What the team was missing

We didn’t have the continuity of other games. We needed to be more organised. We didn’t have possession for long and we weren’t able to threaten them with counterattacks. All this affects you a lot. Real Betis are a good team, they play well and combine well. I don't think it was a bad game, and we’ve had worse ones, but the punishment was harsh.

Picking the team back up

I have no feeling of frustration, as the team worked hard today. Things didn’t work out and they may not work out again at some point, but these players are the same as before the game. If you look back at the first half, almost no one was at their best level. In the second half the team reacted, we found the equaliser and that's what I’ll take away from the game: The reaction, the bond with the fans and the excitement of the week... These players have shown enough signs that we should trust in them, in their spirit and their energy.

Supporting the team

We have to reflect, we have to look at what happened and above all keep in mind that these players are the ones who have brought us here. No one likes the fact that we had a bad result, but the effort is there. Now it’s on to the next one. The bond with the fans is perfect, but today things didn’t go well.

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