Negredo: Three points essential

Sevilla, a point ahead of their rivals in fourth place, are Valencia’s next opponents on Sunday and Negredo, a former Sevilla player who is on loan from Manchester City, says three points will be essential if they are to remain in contention for a top-four finish.

“Of course there is a big desire to win,” Negredo told “The team are psyched up and know that it is a very important game.

“We need to win. Sevilla are a great team on a great run of form and we are fighting them for a Champions League spot.

“In recent years there has been a rivalry between us but we are focusing on the three points – which is what we really want. The key is intensity. When we have that, we’re tough to beat.”

Without any cup distraction following their exit from the Copa del Rey at the hands of Espanyol earlier this month, Valencia are able to focus all their attention on the league in which they have won nine of their last 11 home games.

“The team want to return to the Champions League and this is what we are working towards,” Negrado added. “It will be a very difficult second half of the season but hopefully we will reach the end with possibilities of hitting our targets.

“Physically I feel fine. We had a few weeks with many games, which wears you down. But now, with just a game a week, we can rest to get better for the next game. We are all at one hundred percent and we will try to get the three points.”

Negredo scored 70 goals in 139 appearances for Sevilla – he made his debut for them against Valencia in 2009 – and he would love to get on the scoresheet against them on Sunday, although he would not be celebrating.

“I want to score goals and contribute to the team; that’s what being a forward is all about,” he said.

“I have no anxiety; what matters is that the team win, not who scores. The important thing is the team and the three points.

“If I score, then I will be the happiest person at Valencia CF. Not celebrate against former clubs is a respect thing and I do not want anyone to be offended because I will fight for this club and give my all.”

Valencia are without Pablo Piatti, who missed Thursday’s training session with a muscle injury, but Nicolas Otamendi is expected to recover from a knock to feature in the heart of defence.

Sevilla will be looking to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat by Espanyol in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on Thursday night but they have not conceded a goal any of their last five La Liga fixtures.

The visitors are still without Stephane Mbia, who is on Africa Nations Cup duty, while defender Nico Pareja is set to return from suspension, with Alejandro Arribas dropping to the bench.