Champions League

Soldado: fight for points with 'soul'

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Tuesday, November 1
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Valencia striker Roberto Soldado remains confident his side can still claim a place in the Champions League knockout stages even though they have only managed to pick up two points from their opening three matches.

Draws with Genk and Chelsea combined with a 2-1 away defeat to Bayer Leverkusen has left Valencia second-bottom of Group E match heading into tomorrow's return meeting with second-placed Leverkusen, four points adrift of the German side and five behind leaders Chelsea.

It is make-or-break time for Los Che, but skipper Soldado is in optimistic mood, saying in AS: "Even though we only have two points and are third in the table we still depend on ourselves and we are going to give it everything to win the three games that are left.

"There are nine points still available and we're going to fight for them with all our soul. First against Bayer, then against Genk, and by the time we travel to London the group situation could have changed a lot. This team knows how to compete and we're going to show it.

"Let there be no doubts, we can qualify for the last 16."

Valencia's loss in Leverkusen was one of only two defeats Unai Emery's side have suffered in 13 competitive games this season, and Soldado felt his side could have got something out of that game as well.

"We lost there because they were more clinical than us in front of goal, but we were superior for a lot of the time and what we have to do is repeat the good things we did and correct the mistakes we made," the Spain international added.

Leverkusen head to Spain having won both their home matches in Group E after losing 2-0 at Chelsea in their opening fixture, and the German side's midfielder Gonzalo Castro believes it is Valencia who will be feeling the heat ahead of the game.

"Valencia are the ones under pressure. We know that with a draw or a victory we are even closer to the next round," said Castro, who nevertheless recalls from the first meeting between the two how big a threat Valencia can pose.

"Valencia are a good team. They showed that in the first half in Germany. They played very well and we were fortunate they did not score three or four goals against us. We changed in the second half and were able to win the game, which for us was very important," he added in Superdeporte.

Leverkusen midfielder Michael Ballack broke his nose during Friday's 1-0 win over Freiburg - which saw the former Germany international score the only goal - but he has travelled with Robin Dutt's side to Spain before taking part in training wearing a protective face mask.

He could yet feature but Leverkusen look set to be without Renato Augusto, Michael Ortega, Rene Adler and Tranquillo Barnetta, while Valencia are missing Sergio Canales (knee) and Hedwiges Maduro (ankle), with both players facing long spells on the sidelined with ligament damage.

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