Nuno Santo believes “now is a good time” to play Atletico Madrid as he prepares to take his Valencia side to the Vicente Calderon.
Los Che are enjoying their best run of the season, winning four of their last five matches, and could make it three victories on the bounce by triumphing in the capital, and the Coach has challenged his players to close the gap to one point on their hosts.
“We had a chance to analyse that game [Benfica’s win] but we don’t play like Benfica,” he said at a Press conference.
“We’ve taken the time to observe Atleti’s dynamic and looked at how to stop them and what needed to be done.
“[Atleti and Valencia’s] players are virtually the same, but Atleti have more years on us. Not a lot has changed between the two teams.
“Wanting to win and actually winning are two different things. We intend to go for the win but respect our opponents.
“We’re motivated to compete against a big rival. We’re characterised by our desire to win games.
“We’re only focused on the here and now. Last season serves as a reference, but it’s in the past.
“We’re in line with our desired rate of growth and now is a good time to go to the Calderon to close the gap.
“[Sofiane] Feghouli is a significant miss because he’s in good form and offers important things, but we have alternatives to compensate for his absence.
“Our difference in points isn’t critical, but it may be a good opportunity to catch up, only with Altetico but the teams above them. Still, the season’s very long.”