Football

Valencia's woes pile up in cup loss

Fans of Los Che make their frustrations known during a pre-match demonstration outside the Estadio Mestalla

La Liga club Valencia returned from their winter break to more woes yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The pre-match demonstrations outside the Estadio Mestalla against Singaporean owner Peter Lim summed up the mood in the camp and the subsequent 4-1 loss to Celta Vigo in a Copa Del Rey match certainly didn't help lift the gloom.

Los Che sit 17th in the Spanish top-flight table and saw coach Cesare Prandelli walk out this week following an apparent row over January transfers.

Voro Gonzalez returned to the Valencia dug-out as interim coach for yesterday's game - the fifth time he has been hired by Valencia as caretaker boss - but the former Valencia player's presence had little effect on a side badly needing a boost.

LITTLE HOPE OF ADVANCING

The hosts found themselves behind inside two minutes when Iago Aspas converted a penalty before Theo Bongonda doubled Celta's lead in the 13th minute.

Daniel Wass drove in a third five minutes later.

Valencia midfielder Daniel Parejo reduced the deficit with a penalty just before the hour, but any hopes of a fightback were extinguished when John Guidetti slotted in Celta's fourth with 16 minutes left.

Voro admitted after the game that there is now little hope of them reversing the Round-of-16 tie in the second leg, which takes place next week.

He said: "It's a very hard result to take.

"With the absences we had today, if we conceded a goal in the first minute, the second from a rebound and that our opponents scored with their first three shots, it's difficult to compete for the rest of the game.

"We've been penalised by circumstances in a grave way, dare I say tragic, and the team had to compete for 70 minutes in a very difficult situation.

"It never rains but pours. It's unfortunate but also reality.

"The players had to compete in some brutal, adverse circumstances. This competition, even if there are miracles in football, is no longer for us.

"What's clear is that the situation is difficult, but the only ones who can take us out are the players and the coaching staff. I know the club, the players, the situation and what's facing us."

He also said that he could "understand" the frustrations of the supporters, who have seen their team's fortunes dip dramatically.

Valencia finished fourth in the 2014/15 La Liga campaign to qualify for the Champions League, but are now mired in a relegation battle.

But Voro remains confident that the club can turn things around eventually.

He said: "I know it's difficult to ask the fans to support us and understand that the players have tried and competed because ultimately it was a 1-4 and maybe my words have little defence, but that's how I see it.

"Still, we have to get up again to work. We can't postpone the games, we have to compete, the situation doesn't give us any deadlines.

"I'm at the club's disposal and they have complete confidence in me. What has to come will come but, now, I'm thinking about the club and reversing this situation.

"I feel qualified to be able to help, along with the players, to move things forward.

"I have no doubts, despite this defeat. We're near the relegation zone, but I'm optimistic.

"These players are going to sacrifice themselves and take this team out of this danger." - WIRE SERVICES

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