Valencia manager Marcelino Garcia Toral has more or less confirmed his side are out to attack Celtic tonight at the Mestalla.
The La Liga giants carry a fine 2-0 advantage from the first leg of their Europa League last-32 clash at Parkhead. Therefore, it’s not inconceivable to think the Mestalla outfit would be sitting in and looking to protect that lead.
The onus will certainly be on Celtic to take the match to Valencia tonight. Brendan Rodgers has stressed the importance of the first goal and has urged his men to attack their opponents.
Yet, the Hoops shouldn’t be expecting any form of defensive outlook from their opponents. Toral, speaking in the Daily Mail, stated that the only way to protect their lead is to be on the front foot.
“Being relaxed is not good, ever. The team’s mindset should be to win, no matter what happened in the previous match.
“We are going to try any way we can to convince the players that maximum effort, maximum concentration is the way to achieve a good result which is to be in the next round.
“All matches are important. We cannot relax or think that everything is already done. We want to win again. I don’t want any surprises and the best way to avoid surprises is to think of ourselves.”
Tough match at the best of times
If Celtic were going to the Mestalla stadium with an advantage, then it would still be recognised as a massive ask to go over to Spain and hold it. That puts into perspective just how difficult a job Celtic have tonight.
It would’ve been ideal if Valencia looked to protect without overly-committing. But it looks as though the Spaniards aren’t willing to allow Celtic to dictate with the simple goal of keeping us out.
This sounds like a different approach from what they had at Parkhead. The main goal of Valencia last week was to shut off the supply to Callum McGregor. They would then look to attack Celtic down the flanks on the counter. It worked a treat for the Spaniards.
Valencia, however, haven’t scored in any of their last two home matches. If Celtic perform to their full capability, they have the ability to keep them out.
But one thing’s for sure, we have to expect that they’ll be in our faces from the start.