Valencia will strive to challenge Real Madrid and Barcelona, declares Soldado

Los Che finished a distant third to Spain's top two last term and their star forward is calling for greater effort and consistency ahead of the start of the new campaign
Roberto Soldado freely admits that breaking up Real Madrid and Barcelona's duopoly of La Liga represents "a tall order", but believes that it exactly what Valencia must strive to achieve this season.

Los Che realised their goal of claiming third place last term, but finished a staggering 39 points behind the title-winning Blancos. And, for Soldado, such a deficit is unacceptable for a club of Valencia's stature.

"We all have to give a little more; we cannot settle for what we did last year," the 27-year-old is quoted as saying by Marca. "That's our aim and our mentality. We believe we can do even better this season.

"We're all eager to hit the ground running. It's going to be a difficult year, but we're convinced we can have a good season and try to improve on last year.

"Madrid and Barca lead the way in the league. We'll do our best to challenge them. But we know that it will be a tall order."

However, Soldado is confident that the appointment of former defender Mauricio Pellegrino as coach will bring the best out of Valencia's players.

"He's really up for it and he knows the club," the Spain international enthused. "His approach is going to have a really positive effect."

Meanwhile, Valencia have strengthened their squad with the signing of Andres Guardado from Deportivo La Coruna and the Mexico winger is confident of making a big impact.

"I have had a solid career, with two World Cups and a long journey that will help me meet this challenge with greater maturity," the 25-year-old reasoned.

No side other than Madrid or Barca have won the title since Valencia were crowned champions at the end of the 2003-04 campaign.