‘We would never have chosen to go to Chelsea to play for our lives’ – Valencia's David Albelda wary ahead of Champions League showdown

The former Spain international knows that form favours his side but expects the Blues' experience to be a factor, while also praising former team-mates Juan Mata and David Silva
Valencia midfielder David Albelda is wary of the test that Chelsea will pose in Tuesday’s Champions League Group E showdown.

The Spanish side travel to Stamford Bridge knowing that a score draw or a win will see them dump Andre Villas-Boas’ side out of the competition and, though he admits his team are in better form, Albelda is under no illusions.

“We played Genk with one eye on Chelsea,” the 34-year-old told The Guardian.

“We knew Drogba had scored [against Bayer Leverkusen] and that the best result was a Chelsea victory. When we reached the dressing room we didn't know they'd lost.

“It's rare for a group game to end up a knockout and we would never have chosen to go to London to play for our lives with Chelsea having to win as well.”

The former Spain international is aware that the Blues have lost five of their last 10 games, while Los Che have tasted defeat in just two of their last 13, but expects the likes of former team-mate Juan Mata to pose a danger to Valencia.

“We are going in different directions. We're reaching our peak; Chelsea have doubts,” he admitted.

“They were favourites and it would be a greater surprise for them to be knocked out than us, but that doesn't mean they're under more pressure.

“It's Chelsea: they've been here before, they know what to do, and just look at the players they have."

“Mata's success doesn't surprise me,” Albelda added of the young forward, who has registered three goals and seven assists since his summer move to England.

“He's a wonderful player with a great attitude. The same is true of [Manchester City’s David] Silva, the best in the Premier League: he's very professional, works hard and has exceptional technical quality. He's small but strong.

“Silva has surprised defenders: they look at him and think they can kick him, but they're wrong. Silva is stronger than Mata, but Mata scores more.

“I knew they'd both adapt easily.”

Albelda, who has 51 caps for his country, also revealed that he had the chance to join Chelsea for a brief period in 2008.

“Chelsea had the African Nations Cup coming up, involving Jon Obi Mikel and Michael Essien, and they wanted me as cover,” he recalled.

“That fact that it was a short-term offer was one of the reasons I said no.

“It's a pity because I admire the English league and the atmosphere, which is different to Spain, while players like me are also more highly rated in England than here.”

Albelda has been on the books at Valencia for his whole career, spending two seasons out on loan at Villarreal early in his development.

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