Valencia coach Javi Gracia can’t fit two of his best players into the same team

Saturday afternoon’s defeat at Mestalla to Atletico Madrid served to confirm two important things according to a Diario AS report.

The first of these is that the first half against Alaves last week, when Valencia went 2-0 down only to recover and rescue a draw, was an aberration on what has generally been quiet progress.

The second is that coach Javi Gracia has a problem on his hands. Two of his most talented players, Goncalo Guedes and Lee Kang-in, can’t play in the same starting lineup.

Valencia lost 1-0 to Atletico, but even in the final moments of the game when the hosts were chasing an equaliser Gracia opted to keep Kang-in on the bench.

Kang-in and Guedes haven’t started a match together since the opening day against Levante. When Kang-in starts, Guedes doesn’t, and vice-versa.

That’s the dynamic between Guedes, the most expensive player in the club’s history, and Kang-in, the one with the highest market value.

Gracia puts the balance of the team above all else as he explained in his post-match press conference when asked about Kang-in’s absence.

“We were looking for balance and we already had a very offensive player there in Guedes,” he said.

The belief is that Kang-in’s defensive work ethic isn’t perhaps in line with what Gracia demands from his charges, even though he offsets this fallibility with his status as the Valencia player with the most assists to date.

There is also the uncertainty surrounding the South Korean regarding his contractual situation.

But nonetheless, next up for Valencia is a trip to Eibar, a team where the ingenuity of both players will be required should Valencia wish to cut through.

Featured image courtesy of Deporte Valenciano.

Tags Goncalo Guedes Javi Gracia Lee Kang-in Valencia