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Monday, December 17, 2012
Valverde: Valencia suffering mental block

Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

New Valencia coach Ernesto Valverde admitted his side are suffering a mental block in front of their own fans, after a late penalty from ex-Che player Alejandro 'Chori' Dominguez saw Rayo Vallecano nick a surprise 1-0 win at Mestalla on Sunday afternoon.

Valverde's first two games in charge had both brought deserved wins at Osasuna (in the Copa del Rey and La Liga), but the former Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol coach said his side had frozen when playing back in front of their own exacting supporters.

"We are comfortable away from home, we were a solid team," he said. "But at Mestalla we do not feel so good. It not normal that we create so few chances. We created nothing in attack today, and although we did not suffer in defence, we lost."

Valencia's previous home game was a 2-5 loss to Real Sociedad, during which the Mestalla crowd had chanted against club president Manuel Llorente, leading to the firing of then coach Mauricio Pellegrino.

Sunday's defeat saw Valencia slip to 11th place in the Primera Division, seven points off their reported target for the season of Champions League qualification, and angry fans afterwards again called for Llorente to step down.

Valverde declined to comment on what had happened before his arrival, but said he took responsibility for the loss to Rayo.

"I am not here long, I do not know the fans well," he said. "What I can say is that Valencia let in five goals in their last home game. They lost today and I feel responsible for this defeat."

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