Dani Parejo is excited to return to the Champions League group stage but warned his Valencia teammates of the challenges to come.

Los Che begin the competition proper at home to Zenit St Petersburg and Parejo, having previously played in the tournament, discussed what to expect.

“Last year was a tough, challenging year and we knew what we were playing for. We reached our objective and now we’re here,” he told a Press conference, AS reports.

“For me and for any player this competition is incredible. We have to treat it as such. I’ve been lucky enough to play in it for two seasons and I know what it’s like. There’s a level of demand, tactically and physically.

“It’s not about veterans helping younger players. Last year people doubted because the squad was very young, if we could take the pressure and get into the Champions League, and we relied on ourselves, our teammates, and moved forward to the goal.

“Football tests you every day but last year was demanding with a squad even younger than this. I don’t think there’s anything more to talk about. We’re all mature and we know what we’re playing for.”

It was put to Parejo that the attendance at Mestalla stands to be disappointing, and the captain admitted a packed stadium has helped the team in the past.

“Mestalla was amazing last year. We lost one game. It was one of the keys for us to play in the Champions League. The atmosphere [in the play-off] against Monaco was amazing,” he acknowledged.

“When we play away from home we notice how much Mestalla gives us. Hopefully we’re in the Champions League every year, but maybe not.

“The atmosphere from these types of games is unique. It’s unforgettable and the fans are always there.”

Tags Dani Parejo