Primera Liga news

Unpaid Valencia try to focus on football

February 12, 2009

Valencia's players are keen to prove that money is not their primary concern when Primera Liga upstarts Malaga visit the Mestalla on Saturday.

Unai Emery's side have been knocked out of the King's Cup, lost four of their last six outings in all competitions and are feeling the pinch of the global economic crisis.

The squad have not been paid part of their salary as the club struggle to finance the move to a new stadium that is under construction and their financial woes have become a regular theme in the daily news conferences.

"We are in February and we have problems that require more urgent attention," Italian defender Emiliano Moretti said.

"If there is a small delay in payments that is no reason for us not to put our foot in like we were doing before."

Valencia are fourth in the table and occupy the final Champions League qualification slot, but are only two points ahead of promoted Malaga in seventh.

The well-organised Andalucians have only lost once in eight and will be keen to take advantage of a side still smarting from their 1-0 defeat at struggling Osasuna last weekend.

With Barcelona clear at the top and Real Madrid steadily pulling away from the pack, the race for third and fourth has become the main focus of attention.

Valencia have 37 points from 22 games and are one behind Sevilla, but ten adrift of second-placed Real and a massive 22 short of runaway leaders Barca.

Barca will be looking to extend their ten-match winning streak away to Real Betis on Saturday (1900) and Real will be seeking their eighth consecutive win at Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

Sevilla, who lost the city derby last weekend, continue to struggle with injuries and are away to relegation-threatened Espanyol on Sunday.

Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino has managed three draws in a row since taking over and could be able to use talismanic Spain striker Raul Tamudo, who returned to training this week after a lengthy injury.

Atletico Madrid's new coach Abel Resino has a local derby against Getafe for his home debut at the Calderon on Sunday (2000).

Resino inspired the side to a 3-0 win away to Recreativo Huelva last weekend to end Atletico's seven-match winless streak in his first game at the helm.