Ernesto Valverde believes that Real Madrid are the favourites for Tuesday’s Cup meeting with Valencia, the first of a triple-header.
Los Che host Madrid this midweek in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final, before then travelling out to the capital for a League meeting at the weekend, followed by the second leg.
For the opening game and the quarter-final in general, Valverde has chosen to make clear that the defending League champions remain the favourites to progress, despite their issues on and off the field.
“The favourites are Madrid,” the Valencia boss asserted to gathered reporters today.
“They may be in an unstable situation, hypothetically, I do not know. And that could create a problem for them, but that’s like when a team comes here [to Mestalla] and the fans get impatient.
“I think the Santiago Bernabeu will support the team and it is not dependent on us. We will try to play a good performance and that’s it.
“When you play against Madrid, you have the feeling that you are doing better, you have the ball, you can dominate a bit, but then Madrid starts killing you.
“They are the team with the best counterattack. If you miss your chance they will kill you on the counter. We must take this into account.
“Madrid will take the initiative, but will give us chances too. The important thing is that the game is not unidirectional, that it will not be just them attacking our goal, there should be chances for both teams.
“Ronaldo is back from suspension? He is a player who last year scored 46 goals. So of course when he is not there he will be missed. But, they also have Benzema, Higuain, Ozil…”
Think you know your Spanish football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!