Rayo Vallecano vs Villarreal Preview

Villarreal defender Mario Gaspar has called for his team-mates to build on their morale-boosting draw against Real Madrid in midweek when they travel to Rayo Vallecano.

Football News: Villarreal, Joselu

Villarreal secured a vital point in their battle for survival against Madrid in Miguel Angel Lotina's first game in charge on Wednesday, Marcos Senna hitting a late equaliser for the Yellow Submarine.

The match was overshadowed by events after Senna's goal, with Madrid seeing boss Jose Mourinho sent from the dugout and Sergio Ramos and Mesut Ozil red-carded all in the space of three minutes.

But Gaspar is interested only in what the point can do for Villarreal's season, and has stressed the importance of keeping the positive vibe going when they face Rayo on Sunday.

"We are excited by the point and especially for the image that the team gave," the 21-year-old told a press conference.

"This is the way forward for the future. Each point is good.

"If we get three points against Rayo, it would give us a very important cushion."

The draw against Madrid snapped a three-game losing streak for Villarreal and moved them four points clear of the relegation zone with 10 games remaining.

Lotina, who replaced Jose Molina after he was sacked following the 1-0 defeat at Levante last weekend, was delighted to make such a strong start to his time in the Villarreal hotseat but has warned Rayo present a formidable task this weekend.

"Rayo have players in great form," he said.

"When you are in a positive dynamic things are much easier. However, we are playing for our lives and we will give everything in Vallecas."

Rayo coach Jose Ramon Sandoval hailed his side's season as a "miracle" prior to their midweek 4-2 defeat at the hands of Malaga.

Sandoval heaped praise on his side after their 3-0 win over Real Betis last weekend, a result which moved the club into the top half of the table.

The Malaga loss was an unwelcome blip, but Rayo nevertheless remain just three points off the European berths and with everything to play for over the final games of the season.

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