Manchester United behind Real Madrid and Barcelona says Valencia boss
Valencia coach Unai Emery does not believe Manchester United are quite at the same level as Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Emery takes his side to Old Trafford tonight looking for a win that would not only mean the United defence had been breached for the first time in this season's Champions League but would allow Valencia to leapfrog their opponents to claim top spot in Group C.
Yet, even if they fail in that quest, Emery does not feel Valencia will be meeting the side who should be regarded as favourites to conquer Europe at Wembley next May.
"Real and Barcelona are the best two club sides in the world," he said.
"Manchester United are almost level with them but I think they are just behind."
As Valencia cannot be paired with Real, who defeated them at the weekend, or Barca in the first knockout round, it could be argued United have the greater incentive to achieve a positive result.
Emery is not so sure.
With David Silva sent to attend the game and cheer on the club he joined as a 14-year-old and spent a decade with before joining Manchester City for £24million last summer, Emery feels Valencia have a wider motive.
"At the start of the Champions League we had two aims," he revealed.
"First, we wanted to qualify, which we have achieved. Secondly, we wanted to win the group.
"There are many reasons for doing that. For us it is not about wanting to avoid certain opponents.
"We want to show to the rest of Europe that we can produce a top performance at a big club.
"There are so many good teams in this competition. We want to get a result that will make other teams take notice of us and stand us in good stead for the remainder of the tournament."
Goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez had been a doubt with a calf injury.
However, Sanchez has travelled, which Emery views as a major positive and the former Tottenham man should start.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United official team photo: Antonio Valencia and Anderson pull the funniest faces
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt, including Danny Welbeck must be more clinical and Hector Bellerin debut
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Liverpool 2 Ludogorets 1 player ratings
Luis Suarez has given Liverpool's opponents more hope, says former striker Michael Owen
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly