David Albelda has called on his Valencia team-mates to stay focused ahead of their match against La Liga’s bottom side Almeria.Valencia, third in the table, recorded a thumping 5-0 win at home to fourth-placed Villarreal on Sunday – a victory that makes Unai Emery’s team strong favourites to claim a Champions League qualification berth.
Next up is a trip to face strugglers Almeria, who are without a win in their last four matches.
The fixture appears easily winnable on paper, but Valencia captain Albelda – recalling his team’s 4-0 loss to struggling Real Zaragoza in March – has cautioned against complacency.
“My mission – or the team’s – is to focus on Almeria,” Albelda said.
“There have been lots of goals in our games, but the team has played well from the start. Right now we are getting results, above all with the home win against Villarreal. At the same time, we should be careful with this euphoria.”
“We have to focus on Almeria and remember a similar situation against Zaragoza. We have to learn from that game in order to avoid a surprise. If you beat Villarreal and then go and lose to Almeria, then it is a bit of a waste.”
Following the departure of key men David Villa and David Silva in the close season, Valencia have performed admirably in 2010/11 to head the chasing pack left behind by heavyweights Barcelona and Real Madrid.
But they are still ruing a sloppy Champions League round-of-16 exit at the hands of Schalke, who now appear on course for the semi-finals of the competition.
“If I had to sum up our season, I’d say that it was good,” Albelda said.
“In order to be excellent, we would have to be where Schalke are now in the Champions League.”
“When we spoke at the beginning of the season, Champions League qualification was the objective – and even better if we were to do so directly (by finishing third in La Liga).”
“We had sold our best players, and maintaining your quality after that is difficult. I think that we have done that, and that has been important.”