Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia expects a difficult encounter against Valencia, despite the Spanish side's indifferent start to the campaign.
The Reds take on the Spanish outfit at Old Trafford tonight (Tuesday), looking to make it back-to-back wins in Champions League Group H, following last month’s 3-0 victory away at Young Boys.
Valencia, who finished fourth in La Liga last term, have only won one of their first seven league matches this season and were beaten 2-0 by Juventus at the Mestalla Stadium in their opening European game a fortnight ago.
However, Antonio told United Review that our opponents have what it takes to make life difficult for Jose Mourinho’s men in the first European match of the season at the Theatre of Dreams.
“I know the Spanish league very well, I follow it closely and I’m sure that it will be a tough game,” our no.25 said in an exclusive interview with the club’s official matchday programme.
“They have a great manager, a very good squad but we hope to give our best.”
Both major European titles – the Champions League and Europa League – went to Spanish sides, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid respectively, last term, while the Reds were knocked out of Europe’s elite competition by Sevilla at the last-16 stage.
But Antonio feels that United must concentrate on achieving this season’s ultimate goal – to be crowned champions of Europe once again.
“Well, they [Spanish clubs] have won the last two [European] competitions and we need to focus on our aim, which is to win the Champions League,” he added.
“There’s a reason that we’ve won three European Cups and played in a number of finals, and we have shown this is the way we play and we hope that it can be a great competition for us this season.”
Antonio could make his first European outing of the season, after missing the win over Young Boys in Bern on 19 September because his knee was not risked on the Swiss team’s artificial surface.
Read the full, exclusive interview with Antonio in tonight’s edition of United Review, which is available to buy online and at the stadium.