Maxi Gomez says Valencia spirit is strong
Maxi Gomez insists there is a strong spirit within the Valencia squad despite a turbulent few weeks at Mestalla.
The positivity of last season, when Valencia secured a Champions League spot before beating Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final, has mostly evaporated in the early weeks of 2019-20.
Head coach Marcelino was sacked last month and replaced by Albert Celades, who lost his first match in charge 5-2 away to Barca in LaLiga.
Marcelino suggested he lost his job partly because he won the Copa, a competition he claimed the club's hierarchy considered a distraction from fighting for a Champions League place.
Valencia started their European campaign with a 1-0 win at Chelsea but were dispatched 3-0 at home to Ajax this week on matchday two, meaning they have now won just one of their most recent four games in all competitions.
But Gomez, who joined from Celta Vigo in July, says there are positive feelings in the first-team camp.
"The truth is that it's something special coming to a club as big as Valencia," said Gomez, courtesy of LaLiga. "With the fans, with the people, with the squad and with the atmosphere here, there's nothing like it and, for my part, I'll try to give my all for the group.
"That's the main thing. To be able to score lots of goals, to compete, to have that fighting spirit we Uruguayans have and show it out on the pitch, give my all and use all my strength and to be able to score lots of goals. The truth is I'm very happy and hopefully all that comes to pass.
"We're playing in the Champions League. I always dreamed of playing in the Champions League. I only ever did in video games, and now being able to live this dream of being able to play in the Champions League and being able to give my all for the squad is the main thing and being able to do it in every game is the best of all.
"The truth is we're very happy. We're working as a group to compete in all four competitions that Valencia are involved in. Taking it step by step, not getting carried away thinking about winning the Champions League or the title. We'd rather take it step by step. Every weekend is like a cup final, and we're going to go out and try to win them any way we can."
Gomez scored 30 league goals across his two seasons with Celta Vigo after moving from Defensor Sporting and was linked with Premier League side West Ham before moving to Valencia.
The 23-year-old forward says his career to date has been beyond anything he could have hoped for.
"The truth is I never expected it," he said. "I think it's very hard for a player from Uruguay to come and play football in Spain. I think that Uruguayan football is a lot different to Spanish football.
"When I had the chance to come to Celta, I was very grateful to Celta because they were the ones who opened the doors for me. I was very happy and thank God everything worked out and I was able to come here."
Gomez has fond memories of Celta, specifically goals scored against Real Madrid and Barcelona.
"Against Real Madrid it was a cross from [Daniel] Wass, with an intricate move where we moved the ball out wide and he crossed it in for me, I got my head on it and thank God I managed to put it inside the near post. To be honest, it was a wonderful goal," he said.
"Against Barcelona, I made it 2-2 at Camp Nou, and the truth is that drawing against Barcelona on their own turf is not easy. The goal was a move from Iago Aspas, who really is a fantastic player. He takes on [Samuel] Umtiti, who pulls up with a hamstring problem, Aspas goes it alone and cuts it back to me and I put it in at the far post. It was also a really nice goal and I'm very grateful."