Marcelino believes Valencia are ‘close to peaking’ ahead of taking on ‘the Barcelona who faced Tottenham Hotspur’ on Sunday.
Valencia won their first Liga game of the season last weekend, before holding Manchester United to a goalless draw in the Champions League, and Marcelino was confident his side had turned a corner.
“We’re expecting the Barcelona who faced Tottenham,” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“Maybe they weren’t at their usual collective level before the game in London, but they still could’ve beaten Athletic and played with 10 men for a long time against Girona.
“They did enough to win the games they dropped points in at home. We know they’ll play at the highest level and with the players considered best by their Coach to win.
“You can never think that there’s a better time to play them because we’d all win the football pools otherwise!
“We can only beat them if we’re very successful and they’re not at their best. We’ve all faced Messi’s true potential., so we’ll work so that he participates as little as possible, especially in areas where he can apply maximum influence.
“It’s very difficult to stop him, so I hope he has an off-day. We’ve already played two great teams, so for us it would be a step forward to beat Barcelona.
“We’re Valencia and we want to be in the upper part of the table. We’ve earned less points than we’d have liked, but now we have the possibility of winning our first match in front of our fans, although we know the difficulty that comes with facing Barcelona.
“I haven’t seen us play that badly this season. We could’ve won several of our games. It’s impossible to judge where the team are at the moment, and it’s just as easy to say that we have big room for improvement.
“The team are growing and have sustained their improvement, but I can assure you: I didn’t see them play that badly.
“I didn’t see a vulnerable or listless team, never. We haven’t shown those symptoms. We’ve deserved to win more than we have and we’ve only lacked consistency.
“I think we’ve improved, but my feeling and analysis is that in many games we were close to winning. Now we’re more solid and compact.
“We’re close to peaking, but we still have room for improvement.”
Valencia squad to face Barca: Domenech, Neto; Piccini, Garay, Murillo, Gabriel, Lato, Gaya, Parejo, Coquelin, Kondogbia, Wass, Soler; Cheryshev, Guedes, Rodrigo, Batshuayi, Gameiro