Betis hope to send message against Valencia

Real Betis manager Pepe Mel believes their clash against Valencia is a chance for his side to lay down a marker and show they are serious contenders for a European place.

Football News: Ruben Castro, Alex Martinez, Betis

Mel's men currently lie in sixth, two points ahead of Valencia, and he has stated staying there as their ambition for the campaign.

He told the club's website: "Valencia is a direct rival because it is the next one. The players have it engraved in their heads that those who worry us are the next opponent.

"It doesn't matter what position we are in, the important thing is the points. If we are fighting for the same things as them it will be good for us.

"We have to be ambitious and aspire for more. We are sportsmen and we want the best for the club.

"We don't know in what position the competition will put us in, but to be able to fight against Valencia to remain in the European places is a privilege and something that makes us happy and excited. We can't conform and my biggest dream is to be able to take this team into Europe."

Benat and Mario return from suspension for the hosts but Ruben Perez has been ruled out through injury.

Valencia, meanwhile, have had a fine week as they came from behind late on to beat Athletic Bilbao last weekend before strengthening their position in the Champions League with a 3-0 win away at BATE Borisov.

However, manager Mauricio Pellegrino has insisted that his side are not talented enough to take anything for granted when they travel to the Benito Villamarin on Saturday and has stressed the importance of hard work.

He told AS: "We need to keep performing to a high level to take something out of the next game. We can't expect just to rub the lamp a couple of times to take the match.

"I don't know any other way than working hard. Talent begins with effort and a team that gives everything on the field."

Pellegrino will be forced into at least one change from the side that started in Belarus as Sofiane Feghouli is still suspended for domestic competition, whilst there could be a first start for Ever Banega on his comeback from injury.

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