Valencia may not have Coach Marcelino in the dugout against Barcelona, but they will be playing for the legacy of their most successful President.
Marcelino was handed a two-game touchline ban for protesting excessively during Valencia’s 2-0 win at Espanyol last week, but Los Che have been brought together by the death of Jaume Orti on Friday, the 70-year-old overseeing two Liga titles and a UEFA Cup between 2001 and 2004.
“I don’t think I have the key to stop him because I’m not smarter than anyone and because I’m not out there playing,” the former Villarreal boss said at a Press conference, answering a question about how he would try to keep Lionel Messi at bay.
“It’s easy to give an opinion on how to stop a player, but we’ll try to limit his participation and space as much as possible.
“No-one has ever managed to stop him, and it’s in matches like these when he usually gives his best performances.
“Still no win against Barca? It’s a big thorn in my career. My top-flight career has coincided with the best Barcelona in history.
“Every time this match is presented, an opportunity presents itself and I’m looking forward to this one.
“Barca are always forced to win, but we can and want to win.”
Jeison Murillo is Valencia’s biggest loss for the visit of Barca, but his place in central defence will be taken by the experienced Ezequiel Garay.
The Catalans, on the other hand, are forced to hand Thomas Vermaelen his first League start of the season, with Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano both unavailable.
Striker Paco Alcacer could also be in line to face his former team, partnering Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, fresh from his contract extension until 2021.
Valencia have won two of their last three trips to Camp Nou in La Liga, but they have not beaten Barca at home since a 3-2 victory in the 2007-08 Copa del Rey semi-finals.
Nonetheless, the clash at Mestalla sees Spain’s two, best-placed sides come face to face, both still unbeaten after the opening 12 rounds of fixtures.
Valencia (probable): Neto; Montoya, Garay, Paulista, Gaya; Soler, Parejo, Kondogbia, Guedes; Rodrigo, Zaza
Injuries/suspensions: Murillo, Javi Jimenez, Maksimovic (I) Marcelino (S)
Barcelona (probable): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Vermaelen, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi; Alcacer, Suarez
Injuries/suspensions: Arda, Rafinha, Sergi Roberto, Gomes, Mascherano, Dembele (I) Pique (S)
Referee: Iglesias Villanueva
Form guide: Barca – 1st (W W W W D) Valencia – 2nd (W W W W W)
Previous meeting: Barca 4-2 Valencia
Kick-off time: 19:45 GMT/20:45 CET (LIVE on Football Espana)