Valladolid head into Elche match-up with positivity

Real Valladolid head into a crucial match against Elche with a spring in their step, having taken four points from their last two league games.

Real Valladolid CF

A win over Villarreal and a goalless draw at Getafe mean Juan Ignacio Martinez's side have a fighting chance of avoiding relegation, now that they are two points from safety.

The coach has explained the key to their mini-revival: learning from the mistakes they made in their harrowing 4-0 defeat at Granada. A valiant performance at Athletic Bilbao followed, and even though they were beaten 4-2 at San Mames, they have not lost since.

"Evidently there is a big difference between our performances before and after the Granada game," Martinez told reporters.

"After that day we spoke and decided to take fewer risks when bringing the ball out the back, something that was costing us dear and lead to us conceding a number of goals."

A victory over Elche would reduce the gap between the two teams to just a point, and as the stakes are so high, Martinez said his team were focusing on not giving their opponents any advantage through a lapse of concentration, in what he expects to be an evenly matched game.

"It's fundamental we don't make any errors and take advantage of the errors of our opponents," he said.

"They are very good at set-pieces and I'm sure a tight game awaits us."

Valladolid will be without their top scorer Javi Guerra who is suspended for the game, meaning former Manchester United striker Manucho will lead the team's attack.

Winger Patrick Ebert has left the club after agreeing to terminate his contract following an uneasy fortnight since he pulled out of the game with Villarreal, and Martinez refused to take questions on the German in his press briefing. But he said the team had been lifted by the arrival of former Barcelona player Jeffren, who has been named in the squad despite not playing a competitive game for over 10 months.

Elche's only absentee is Damian Suarez, suspended after getting sent off in the 1-0 win over Almeria last weekend.

Coach Fran Escriba recognised Valladolid's change in fortunes in his press conference, saying: "They have been playing well recently and they are going to make things very difficult for us."

And despite the win over Almeria, he stressed his team would not view the trip to Valladolid with any less urgency.

"The players are talking about this game as if it were a final, but in the second half of the season, every game is."

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