Valencia coach Javi Gracia laments defensive weakness after draw at Alaves

Valencia coach Javi Gracia has spoken of the need to improve their defensive solidity after drawing 2-2 with Alaves at Mendizorroza on Sunday evening.

Ximo Navarro and Lucas Perez put the hosts in a two goal leader inside the first 20 minutes before goals from Manu Vallejo and Hugo Guillamon inside the last 20 minutes saved a point for Valencia. The visitors completed eight short of twice as many passes as Alaves.

The result follows on from Valencia’s 4-1 defeat of Real Madrid at Mestalla before the international break and leaves Los Che sitting in eighth between Sevilla and Elche. Alaves are in 14th, two points behind them.

Speaking after the game in quotes carried by Marca, Gracia lamented the defensive lapses that are continually putting his team in a position where games need to be rescued.

“It’s a situation that is occurring quite regularly and that we have to try to improve,” Gracia said. “It’s difficult for us to focus on the games, to go out with the same intensity when the game turns against us. It’s difficult to move forward when we concede so much, even though the team is capable of coming back like today.

“Before the games we talk about it, and we give great importance to starting well with the intensity required by the games. After our victory against Real Madrid and the two-week break, we have made an effort to concentrate all the players and ensure that they’re aware of just how important the game against Alaves was.

“[The players] know better than anyone that we have to win and they’re angry for not having been able to do so. I’m angrier by the first half, and how we allowed our rival to get so far away from us. We need to be more solid in defence, and we shouldn’t have to rely on scoring goals to get out of these situations.”

Valencia, absent from European competition this season, face Atletico Madrid at Mestalla next Saturday afternoon before a trip to Eibar the following Monday night.

Alaves have a daunting fortnight ahead – they travel to the Santiago Bernabeu to lock horns with last season’s champions, Real Madrid, next Saturday night, before welcoming the current league leaders, Real Sociedad, the following Sunday.

Featured image courtesy of Deporte Valenciano.

Tags Alaves Javi Gracia La Liga Valencia