Gary Neville wants to extend Valencia streak vs. Rapid Vienna
Valencia coach Gary Neville said he aimed to stretch his team's winning run to four in a row in Thursday evening's Europa League round-of-32 second leg at Rapid Vienna.
Los Che are in full control of the tie having won 6-0 in last week's first leg at Mestalla, and the travelling squad to Austria for the return includes five youth team players, with senior squad members including Dani Parejo, Enzo Perez, Andre Gomes and Denis Cheryshev being rested.
Valencia have also beaten Espanyol and Granada in their two most recent La Liga games, and the former Manchester United defender told his pre-game news conference that keeping the positive momentum going was important.
"This is an important game for two reasons -- to play with professionalism and to keep the run going," Neville said. "We have got some good results, scoring goals, playing well and showing character. We want to keep that going. I am taking the game very seriously, we have a lot of respect for Rapid. We were fantastic in the first half [last week], everything came off for us. That is why we got such a result."
The Englishman confirmed that left-back Jose Gaya was fit to feature after being left out for last weekend's 2-1 win at Granada, while youngsters including promising teenagers Fran Villalba and Rafa Mir might get a run-out at some time over the 90 minutes, as the squad is rotated ahead of Sunday afternoon's La Liga game at home to Athletic Bilbao.
"It is fantastic that they are with us, we wanted to bring them so they could get some playing time," Neville said. "We must be sure that we have fresh players on the pitch. Rapid will do the same I believe, it is not a lack of respect."
Neville also spoke about the blatant refereeing error during the penalty shoot-out which decided Tuesday's UEFA Youth League game between Valencia and Chelsea in favour of the English side, in which Los Che youngster's Alberto Gil's spot-kick was ruled a miss despite him clearly scoring.
"I've seen a lot of refereeing mistakes, but none like that one yesterday," he said.