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The Mestalla club are currently behind only the Clasico teams and their coach feels that Sunday's underachieving opponents will push them close for Champions League qualification

Valencia coach Unai Emery has stated his belief that Sevilla are a direct competitor for third place in La Lig, and that the clash between the two sides on Sunday will be a close encounter.

The Mestalla outfit currently hold the position behind the Clasico giants, but their trainer feels that the Andalusians could make a late surge for Champions League qualification despite currently residing down in 12th spot in La Liga.

"They are a direct rival and will fight to catch us in third. That's why this match is very important to them; they want to get closer to our position," said Emery in a press conference before the game.

"In many ways we are two very evenly-matched teams.

"We have played three times this season. They have won twice and we have won once, in all cases the team playing at home has won. Everything is very tight."

Sevilla recently hired a new coach in the form of Michel in the hopes of moving back up the table, and Emery feels that the move has instilled a breath of fresh air into the club.

"With [previous coach] Marcelino they played well and made opponents suffer, but did not get good results. Now the team has a more fresh and natural outlook," he explained.

"Little by little they will see the style of Michel creep in, who likes combinative football.

"In any case, they are a team that have beaten us this season [in September] and have very good players.

"I hate to hear that we are in a very comfortable third-place position because we can not have any slip-ups. Behind us are not only Sevilla, but also Atletico Madrid, Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao and Malaga," Emery added in caution.

Kick-off at Mestalla is at 18.00CET.