Atletico v Valencia preview

Jordi Alba insists Valencia will not be thinking about their 2010 Europa League defeat to Atletico Madrid when they meet again on Thursday.

Last Updated: 18/04/12 at 14:05

Albi: Feeling confident

Albi: Feeling confident

Valencia were sent crashing out at the quarter-final stage two years ago when, after being held 2-2 at home in the first meeting, they were unable to find the breakthrough in a goalless second leg in Madrid.

However, Los Che were left fuming after being denied an 86th-minute penalty for an apparent foul on striker Nikola Zigic, who looked to have been pulled back by Atletico defender Juanito five yards from goal as he tried to get on the end of a cross at the far post.

Virtually every Valencia player immediately appealed to referee Florian Meyer for the foul while coach Unai Emery ended up being red-carded for his protests, but the visiting side's pleas fell on deaf ears as play was waved on and, while Los Che bid farewell to the competition, Atletico would go on to lift the trophy by beating Fulham in the final.

Asked ahead of Thursday's semi-final first leg at the Vicente Calderon if they still angry about that decision, Alba told AS: "Our fans and the players who played in that game have not forgotten, it was a decision which saw us knocked out unfairly. But we shouldn't be looking at this as revenge, but of having a good game and doing our best."

Valencia head into Thursday's match on the back of an inconsistent run of form which has seen them lose four of their last eight competitive matches while winning just twice.

On Sunday they were hammered 4-0 by Espanyol, but despite that loss Alba insists the mood in the camp is good.

"We are motivated and ready to make a fresh start. Now's the time to show what we can do. It (the Espanyol game) was an accident, and we are now 180 minutes from a final, something neither I or many of my team-mates have experienced. That has to serve as a motivation," the highly-rated full-back said.

Valencia still managed to hold on to third place in the Primera Division standings even after that Espanyol mauling, with the three teams immediately below them all dropping points as well.

That allowed eighth-placed Atletico to move to within one point of the European places with their 1-0 derby victory over Rayo Vallecano, and they are now only seven points adrift of stuttering Valencia with five games remaining.

Atletico winger Eduardo Salvio remains optimistic his side can achieve their objective of getting into the Champions League, but his focus is now on getting through to the Europa League final - something he admits will not be easy against Valencia.

"They are one of the best teams in Spain and a European great," he said. "They are a very tough opponent for us in this Europa League, but we are for them as well. I think it will be a very even tie and we are going to have to do a good job to get a good lead to take to Valencia.

"The important thing will be to win and keep a clean sheet."

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Europa League Fixtures

Thursday, 24 April 2014
20:05
Benfica v Juventus  
Sevilla v Valencia  
Thursday, 01 May 2014
Juventus v Benfica  
Valencia v Sevilla  

Footer 365

Premier League: Roberto Martinez hails Everton players after win over Manchester United

Roberto Martinez saluted the focus and adaptability of his Everton squad after a 2-0 victory over Manchester United.

Transfer news: Atletico Mineiro to take Nicolas Anelka to FIFA

Atletico Mineiro president Alexandre Kalil has said that he is considering taking Nicolas Anelka to FIFA.

Premier League: David Moyes admits defensive errors cost Manchester United at Everton

David Moyes feels Man Utd conceded 'terrible goals' on his return to Everton and says missing out on the top four hurts.

Mail Box

That's Why We Didn't Want Jose At United

There is plenty of reaction to Mourinho's antics (Isn't that exactly what he wanted?) plus thoughts on Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini, beach balls and Tim Sherwood...

Kieran's Not The Only One Keeping Notes

Another chap in the mailbox has been keeping notes on comments made by optimistic Man United fans. Plus, Garey Vance is offering a double-or-quits on his new tattoo...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property