Nuno Santo has confirmed a Champions League place is Valencia’s target for the season, dismissing talk of a five-way title race.
Los Che travel to Villarreal for a Valencian Community derby today and do so without influential midfielder Dani Parejo, who has been ruled out through injury.
Nuno told his pre-match Press conference that while the absence of Parejo is a blow, it won’t change his team’s approach, as his Villarreal counterpart Marcelino will already know.
“It’s a significant loss. Our captain is important for the team,” Nuno said of Parejo, AS reports.
“But we have confidence we have very good options for a replacement that maintains our identity. We’ve got a competitive team and we won’t notice Dani’s absence.
“We are different from Villarreal, two different teams. We have a very clear idea of our game which is based on pressure and organised attack, depending on where we steal the ball.
“Marcelino in an analyst and I don’t think we can surprise him. I don’t think he can surprise us either. Our idea of the game won’t change.”
There has been talk that Nuno will be offered a new contract by Valencia despite only taking over this summer.
The Portuguese welcomed the proposal and reiterated that the summit of the team’s ambition is to return to the Champions League despite a start to the season that has them among the title front-runners.
“I’m grateful for talk of a renewal and I thank the people that brought me here and I’ll be thankful for ever,” he revealed.
“It’s an honour to train here every day. It’s an honour and a pleasure.
“Our goal isn’t to make it a League of five. Our goal doesn’t change. It’s to be in the Champions League. I don’t think anyone believes we can challenge Real Madrid or Barcelona.
“We work every day to the fullest knowing what we want to achieve.”