Cause for optimism as Celtic’s Europa League opponents fail to impress

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VALENCIA were held to a sluggish goalless draw yesterday ahead of their trip to Glasgow to face Celtic and manager Marcelino admitted his side’s hectic schedule had taken its toll.

The Hoops’ opponents on Thursday looked leggy and weary yesterday as they had to settle for a disappointing home goalless draw with Real Sociedad in the Mestalla.

And Spanish boss Marcelino admitted their run of matches, which included a Copa del Rey semi-final on Thursday, had taken their toll ahead of their trip to Scotland.

He said: “When you play a game less than 72 hours after your last one, then it is very obvious you are going to be tired.

“But we still had a few good chances in the second half and still could have won, although I accept Real Sociedad were better in the first half.

“We now only have another three days before we have to play Celtic and that will be another exhausting game for the players.

“I would have preferred to give some of my players a rest for the game in Scotland, but that is not possible.

“We now we face a very difficult match in Glasgow and we need our best players for it.”

Valencia had been in fine scoring form recently with ten goals in their last four games, but they could only draw a blank against Sociedad and there was little for watching Hoops scouts to be overly concerned about.

HeraldScotland:

This was their third draw in a row and Sociedad proved yesterday Valencia will give Celtic chances, although the visitors didn’t take them.

Valencia were tidy enough on the ball with midfielders Carlos Soler and captain Daniel Parejo impressing with their composure, but they produced precious little for strikeforce Kevin Gameiro and Mina to feed off.

The hosts improved in the second half after the introduction of former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin and Gameiro missed two decent chances from headers in quick succession

Valencia received a huge boost when star man, Goncalo Guedes, came on as a second half sub.

The former PSG and Benfica winger had been missing for three months with a groin injury and provided the most assists for Valencia last season.

And Marcelino was delighted to welcome the Portuguese wing ace back.

He said: “I would like to have given him more time, but circumstances meant we could only give him 15 minutes, but you saw what he could do even in that time. And now he will get more game time in future matches.”