Pellegrino on thin ice ahead of Bayern clash

MADRID Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:27am IST

Valencia's Ricardo Costa (L) and coach Mauricio Pellegrino (C) attend a news conference in Valencia, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Heino Kalis

Valencia's Ricardo Costa (L) and coach Mauricio Pellegrino (C) attend a news conference in Valencia, November 6, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Heino Kalis

MADRID (Reuters) - Valencia coach Mauricio Pellegrino has yet to win over the La Liga club's demanding fans but a good performance at home to old foes Bayern Munich in Champions League Group F on Tuesday would help ease pressure on the softly-spoken Argentine.

His erratic side snatched a 2-1 La Liga win at home to Espanyol on Saturday thanks to Roberto Soldado's late penalty and they are level on nine points with group leaders Bayern and well placed to progress to the last 16.

Former Valencia player Pellegrino, who replaced Unai Emery as coach at the end of last season, was denied by Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn in the penalty shootout that decided the 2001 final and he is well aware of the precariousness of his current position in the results-orientated modern game.

"It's not a good time to be a coach right now," Pellegrino said at a promotional event last week.

"You are skating on thin ice," the 41-year-old added.

"The players have more influence than the coach, that's the way football is.

"The players have a value in the market for the clubs that the coach just does not."

Valencia will have half an eye on the other match in the group because if Belarussian champions BATE Borisov lose at home to French side Lille, the La Liga club will be through whatever happens at the Mestalla.

Bayern have lost to Valencia only once in eight meetings, a 3-0 reverse in Spain in the first leg of a UEFA Cup first-round tie in the 1996-97 season.

They beat them 2-1 in Munich in September thanks to goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos, Nelson Valdez replying for the visitors in added time.

BRUISED RIBS

Mario Gomez and Franck Ribery will travel to Valencia on Monday as both continue their recovery from injury, Bayern said on their website (www.fcbayern.telekom.de) on Sunday.

Germany striker Gomez made his comeback last week after three months out following ankle surgery, while France winger Ribery trained with the rest of the squad on Sunday after a brief spell on the sidelines with bruised ribs.

Netherlands winger Arjen Robben, who was a team mate of Valencia midfielder Fernando Gago at Real Madrid in 2007-2009, is unavailable after he sustained a thigh injury in last week's friendly against Germany.

Probable teams:

Valencia: 13-Vicente Guaita; 12-Joao Pereira, 4-Adil Rami, 20-Ricardo Costa, 3-Aly Cissokho; 8-Sofiane Feghouli, 24-Tino Costa, 5-Fernando Gago, 17-Andres Guardado; 7-Jonas, 9-Roberto Soldado

Bayern Munich: 1-Manuel Neuer; 21-Philipp Lahm, 4-Dante, 5-Daniel Van Buyten, 27-David Alaba; 31-Bastian Schweinsteiger, 8-Javi Martinez, 25-Thomas Mueller, 39-Toni Kroos, 7-Franck Ribery; 9-Mario Mandzukic

Referee: Howard Webb (England)

(Additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann in Berlin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Reuters Showcase

Fit to Play

Fit to Play

Ronaldo fit for Super Cup decider  Full Article 

Extension for Perez

Extension for Perez

Perez expects to stay at Force India  Full Article 

Golf Update

Golf Update

McIlroy struggles in opening round at The Barclays  Full Article 

Steyn Returns

Steyn Returns

Steyn, Morkel back for South Africa in triangular series  Full Article 

Balotelli Leaves Milan

Balotelli Leaves Milan

Balotelli says farewell to Milan, may be heading for Liverpool  Full Article 

Ready for Compromise

Ready for Compromise

BayernLB open to a deal to end dispute with Formula One boss Ecclestone  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage