Resurgent Valencia gunning for Celta scalp

Valencia head to Celta Vigo rejuvenated under new coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who has already won over his players since replacing Miroslav Djukic at the end of 2013.

Jonas (R) of Valencia celebrates after scoring wit

Los Che won the Valencia derby with Levante 2-0 in Pizzi's first game in charge, and then earned a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in a Copa del Rey tie, dominating Diego Simeone's side, who were grateful to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for keeping them in the game by repelling shot after shot until Helder Postiga bundled in an injury time equaliser.

Defender Jeremy Mathieu has praised the impact the Argentinian coach has had in his short time at the club, telling Radio Marca: "Pizzi is the coach that Valencia needs.

"He has clear ideas. He wants us to press higher up the field, and it's easier to defend that way"

And he highlighted the improved fitness levels the players have noticed under the new boss.

"Now the players feel more comfortable right until the end of matches," he said.

And the Frenchman suggested big ambitions for Valencia, currently eighth in the league and 10 points adrift of fourth place.

"Now we are on the up and we are going to try and keep it that way so we can qualify for the Champions League. I'm sure the fans will support us all the way, like they did on Tuesday [against Atletico]."

Ever Banega is injured for the game and Dorlan Pabon has been left out of the squad for the trip to Vigo, but Pizzi has everyone else available.

The Argentinian coach shared a dressing room with Celta coach Luis Enrique for two years when the pair were at Barcelona between 1996 and 1998.

Speaking to reporters, Pizzi said he had "a very good relationship" with Enrique, adding "I admired him a lot as a footballer and now I also admire him as a coach."

Celta slipped back into the relegation zone after losing 3-0 to Real Madrid in their first game of 2014 and captain Borja Oubina has called on his team to produce a strong showing from now until the end of the season to get them out of trouble.

"We need to do much better in the second half of the season, or we at least need to get more points," he told a press conference.

"We need to improve our performances at Balaidos, beginning on Saturday even though we're up against Valencia, who are such a difficult team to face."

Forward Rafinha has recovered from a bout of gastroenteritis and Enrique now has a full squad to choose from.



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