Under pressure Emery knows nothing less than three points will suffice in the quest for automatic Champions League qualification and acknowledges that Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Real Madrid will count for nothing if Jose Ramon Sandoval’s Rayo are not put to the sword.
“The draw the other day will mean nothing if we don’t win this match,” maintained the 40-year-old. “We have to be above any praise or criticism. The Mestalla is where we must establish our objectives in both La Liga and the Europa League.”
The Basque-born Coach also had words of praise for Rayo and believes it will be an extremely difficult match, particularly since Valencia have struggled in their last four league games at home having drawn with Levante (1-1) and Real Mallorca (2-2) and slipped to 2-1 defeats against both Sevilla and Real Zaragoza.
“Rayo have been relatively surprising,” he said. “They had a very defined style when they were in La Segunda and played some very attacking football: they were also capable of thrashing Osasuna after coming off a hiding themselves in San Sebastian. They deserve a lot of respect for where they are in the league.”
Emery played down the loss of third spot to the Andalusians and is optimistic his players can regain that position.
“For us it is a challenge and we have the strength to face it with optimism. It was predictable Malaga would beat Racing as they are a good team, yet just as we respected them when we held a considerable advantage we do not fear them now. The aim of reaching third place is in our own hands,” he added.