Europa League: Struggling Spanish giants Valencia ripe for Swansea and their style

Daunting Europa League debut for the Welsh side

Valencia

In the past Swansea have been called "Swanselona" because of their stylish passing style. Yet that heavy Spanish influence could prove handy to night when Michael Laudrup's side kick off their Europa League Group A campaign at Valencia's intimidating Mestalla.

The Swansea manager appeared relaxed at his pre-match press conference here tonight, and even joked that it could be the Liberty Stadium outfit rather than the La Liga giants who field more players from Spain.

Amazingly, Swansea's Spanish armada could outnumber the hosts with five players from what is currently the world's most successful football nation in their starting line-up compared to Valencia's four.

Although the former Valencia winger Pablo Hernandez is ruled out with a hamstring injury, Michu is expected to be joined by fellow countryman Angel Rangel, Chico Flores, Jose Canas and Alejandro Pozuelo as Swansea's rise to domestic prominence is tested by the two-time Champions League finalists.

However, Valencia have made their worst start to a league campaign in 14 years with three defeats in four matches – a natural consequence, perhaps, of being forced in recent seasons to sell prized assets such as Tottenham's Roberto Soldado, Juan Mata and David Silva. So Laudrup was quick to turn up the pressure on the hosts by pointing out that Miroslav Djukic's side are a shadow of the club's best.

"I'm quite confident," said the Swansea manager, "because even though Valencia are a huge team, winning leagues, getting to Champions League finals and all that in the last 10 or 11 years, I don't think the gap between the two teams right now is that big. Valencia have been the third team in Spain for many years behind the two big ones. But, at this moment, Atletico Madrid are just above them.

"They have a new manager, and again they have sold a couple of their top players.They have had a tough start to the season and on Sunday they play Seville at home, so it's a difficult moment for them.

"But that's not my problem – it's their problem. All the pressure is on Valencia. We have to try and play our best and I think we have a good chance of getting a positive result."

Swansea arrived in Spain having gained confidence with a superb second-half fightback to secure a 2-2 draw against Premier League leaders Liverpool on Monday night. So Laudrup called on his players to ensure they put the pressure on their struggling opponents from the early moments of the game in order to test the patience of the expectant home supporters.

"The fans of Valencia have been used to seeing great players and great teams passing by," he said. "They always want the best. They ask for that. They really demand it from the squad, players and manager. They have to be up there at the top and really competing with Barcelona and Real Madrid. So let's see how they react."

Laudrup spent almost a decade in La Liga as a player with Barcelona and Real Madrid before spells in charge of Getafe and Real Mallorca. He believes there is no reason to fear tomorrow night's opposition as they attempt to plot a successful course through a group that also contains Kuban Krasnodar of Russia and the Swiss side St Gallen.

"I already know we can beat anyone in this competition," he said. "We play against teams like Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United. Teams at the same level as Valencia.

"So there is no reason why we cannot beat Valencia in a one-off game."

Kick-off 6pm.

TV ITV4 Referee S Gumienny (Bel)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago