Nuno Santo believes Valencia played well against Zenit St Petersburg despite losing 2-0 as they were ‘punished for their mistakes.’
The defeat, coupled with Gent’s later win over Lyon, leaves Los Che’s Champions League future in the balance as they are third in Group H with a game to go, a point behind Gent, leaving qualification of out their hands.
“We controlled the game, we had chances and we were punished for mistakes,” Nuno said, AS reports.
“The reaction of the team was good. The players stood up and that is important. There’s no individual blame. Nothing in football is individual. Everything is collective. We don’t individualise victories or defeats.
“Obviously I’m not satisfied with the result but we were penalised for our mistakes. We didn’t start well but then we had control. I can’t blame the attitude of the players for anything.
“Of course, the result isn’t what we wanted. It’s a game, a final at Mestalla, and surely with that attitude we will win
“The attitude was irreproachable. We saw a team compete and get involved in the game. We have room for improvement and to correct things. Offensively we had chances and the youth of the squad makes me believe there is room for improvement. We know how to do it.”
Valencia’s young squad was evidenced by the inclusion of 18-year-old Rafa Mir, a star of the lower age groups but without a senior appearance to his name.
“Rafa is an option. He started with us two weeks ago. He has quality and can contribute to the team,” Nuno replied when asked about the youngster’s involvement.
“I believe in this squad, these players, how they engage in their work and in matches like this where you have to grow and compete against the best. The idea of this project is to very soon be among the best teams in Europe.”