Valverde plays down Valencia advantage for Levante clash

The Murcielagos coach does not not believe that league form has any importance in derby games as his side ready themselves to face Levante

Valencia boss Ernesto Valverde believes there are no favourites ahead of the derby clash against Levante, despite his side being five places and seven points above their rivals in La Liga.

Valverde’s men welcome their city opponents to the Mestalla looking for revenge for a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Levante earlier in the season.

A win on Saturday could move Los Murcielagos up to fourth in the table and keep the pressure on Malaga for the final Champions League spot.

However, the 49-year-old is sceptical of league placing when it comes to derby days.

“From the outside it always seems that the one further ahead [in the table] is the favourite," he told reporters.

“But seen from within, this consideration is not taken into account because the emotional factor is above that. Levante are in a good moment in general.”

And Valverde said he believed the fans supporters would help his side, adding: “The Mestalla atmosphere? I’m not worried, whilst this is a derby. The fans have to be with us and they will be.

“We also have to give something to the fans and this will be achieved through our play.”

The tactician also admitted his side face defensive problems, with both Ricardo Costa and Adil Rami missing through injury.

But when asked by reporters about who he would play in the centre, he preferred to keep his options close to his chest.

“Who will I play at centre-back? Yes, there are players in the reserves that could come with us, but I also like to use alternatives within my own team. It’s a tough game, it’s a derby.”