EMERY: PLAYERS WILL BE FOCUSED
Valencia coach Unai Emery does not believe uncertainty over his future will affect his players as they look to overturn a 2-1 deficit against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday night and progress to the Europa League semi-finals.
A late strike from Maarten Martens edged a tight first leg in the hosts' favour at the AFAA Stadium last week, and Los Che - one of three Spanish teams remaining in the competition - go into Thursday's match having let slip their hold on third place in the Primera Division after a string of indifferent results.
But Emery, whose side have won only once in La Liga in 2012, claims his team will be focused only on getting past AZ.
He said at his pre-match press conference: "In the league, despite the streak, we can finish in third place.
"I'm in the line of work and responsibility regardless of speculation, which I do not go into. Players know their responsibilities, and they have not conveyed concern to me on this matter [his future]."
He added: "We have a great opportunity to awaken the enthusiasm with the Europa League, and it is our duty to make it through on Thursday, which would be an important part of the goals we have set ourselves.
"The most important thing, besides winning, is to keep a clean sheet.
"They are tough opponents, showing a strength that is hard to beat, so we must be very focused on doing things the best way possible."
Valencia have never lost to Dutch opposition at home and beat PSV Eindhoven at the Mestalla to reach the quarter-finals.
Defender Adil Rami returns from suspension for Emery's side and could bolster a back line that has leaked goals recently.
AZ currently sit in second in the Eredivisie, just one point behind leaders Ajax, but have won only once on the road in the Europa League this season.
They come into the match on the back of a 2-2 draw at Vitesse Arnhem and have not lost in the league since mid-February.
AZ will be without Etienne Reijnen (ankle) and Celso Ortiz (knee) for the game in Spain, the latter having been ruled out for the season after undergoing surgery on Tuesday.
Roy Beerens returns from injury, though, as the Dutch outfit look to advance to a last-four meeting with either Atletico Madrid or Hannover.
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