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Iniesta, contra el València / FOTO: ARXIU FCB

Valencia replaced Unai Emery with Mauricio Pellegrino in the summer, but the two coaches share many similar ideas about how to play and the team are expected to maintain their style under their new boss.

Rafa Benitez’s assistant
Pellegrino played for Valencia for five years after a season at Barça in the late 90s and had his first taste of coaching as assistant to his ex-boss Rafa Benitez, first at Liverpool and then for a short spell at Inter Milan, though on his presentation as Valencia boss he insisted: “I’ve learnt a lot from Rafa but I am not him, I’m my own man”.

Mixed reception
After two draws in the first two games of the season – at the Bernabeu(1-1) and at home to Deportivo last week(3-3), Valencia come to the Nou Camp still looking for their first win under Pellegrino and with mixed notices after two contrasting performances, with the coach admitting his team had “lost their concentration” after letting slip a two goal lead last week.

Aggression in the middle
In defence, Pellegrino has made up for the loss of Jordi Alba by bringing in the Portuguese international Pereira and the team begins defending up the pitch, with the midfielders Gago and Tino Costa working hard to close down spaces between the lines and win back possession. When all else fails, there’s always keeper Diego Alves, who played a stormer in the opener against Madrid to keep out the Real attack.

Soldado the main threat up front
Although Roberto Soldado is always going to be the focus of Valencia’s attack, midfielder Feghouli is a danger with his diagonal runs into space which the mobile forwards work hard to create and both Mathieu and Pereira are encouraged to bomb down their wings to add extra width to attacks.

In the end though, many teams find all their best laid plans come to naught when they visit the Camp Nou and as Valencia’s French centre back Adil Rami joked on Friday: “maybe we’ll just nick a goal and then defend with all ten men behind the ball – against Barça anything is possible!”.

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