Celades vows Valencia can recover
Albert Celades was once used to the high life with Barcelona and Real Madrid - now he is dealing with the misery caused by an abject week for his Valencia team.
Four days of carnage has left Valencia's Champions League hopes in tatters and their prospects of returning to that competition next season dealt a major blow. As a player, Celades was a defensive midfielder who began his career at Camp Nou and later traded loyalties by pulling on the white shirt of Madrid, often playing as a foil to David Beckham.
His coaching career has included spells as an assistant with Spain and Madrid, before a first head coaching opportunity presented itself at Valencia last September. The past week has come as a jolt to the 44-year-old, with a 4-1 thumping by Atalanta in Italy on Wednesday followed by a 3-0 whipping at Real Sociedad on Saturday.
"We are going through the worst moment of the season, but I don't think that the season is lost," Celades said.
His immediate task is to ensure the team's morale does not fall away, with their winless run having stretched to five games. Although they have slipped to eighth place in LaLiga, Valencia remain within touching distance of the top four.
"We are not having the same performance away from home as at Mestalla," Celades said. "However, there are still a lot of games left in LaLiga and the return leg of the Champions League tie. Our idea is to continue picking up points, although the numbers are there and we have conceded too many goals that have impeded us from being at the top of the standings. We have to fix this as soon as possible."
Celades feels Valencia were better against Atalanta than the scoreline suggested, even though the Serie A side led by four goals inside an hour and it took a response from Denis Cheryshev to give Los Che any hope for the March 10 second leg at Mestalla.
Speaking after the Sociedad match, Celades was quoted by Valencia's website as saying: "We came into this one off a tough defeat in the Champions League, which was too heavy for what we saw on the pitch.
"However, not long ago we had a great game against Atletico Madrid in which we deserved to win. We are struggling to win but, of course, I see myself as being strong enough to turn the situation around."