Espanyol v Valencia preview
Hector Moreno believes Espanyol can still qualify for Europe as they prepare to face Valencia.
Last Updated: 14/04/12 3:46pm
Espanyol defender Hector Moreno believes his side can still qualify for Europe despite facing a tough run-in to the end of the season.
The Catalans lost 2-0 to Osasuna on Tuesday to fall four points behind Los Rojillos in the final Europa League spot, and this weekend's game with Valencia is followed by trips to Atletico Madrid and Barcelona in the final five games.
But Moreno is hoping they can correct their errors from recent weeks and repeat their points tally from the same run of fixtures in the first half of the season.
He told AS: "Our work has been the same or maybe even better in recent weeks. The circumstances of the games hasn't favoured us, we haven't taken our chances and we have committed mistakes in defence.
"However there are still possibilities and we will continue to fight. In the first part of the season we took 11 points from these matches. We have to see facing such demanding opponents as an advantage."
Espanyol will be without the suspended Philippe Coutinho and Juan Forlin after both were sent off in midweek, but Raul Rodriguez returns from his ban and Sergio Garcia has been passed fit to play.
Valencia returned to winning ways with a 4-1 win over Rayo on Wednesday to regain third place and another positive note for Los Che was the return of Sergio Canales after six months out with a knee injury.
And the Spanish U-21 international has expressed his delight just to be back on a football field.
He told Marca: "I had spent some time waiting. I had a great desire to play and moreover return with a win. After such a long time I needed to play and enter into the dynamic of the team. It is clear I need confidence, but I know I can help the team."
However, Canales is not sure when he will be ready to start again.
"I'll see what the manager thinks is right for the good of the team," he said.
"The truth is I don't know how I am going to respond, because it has been so long since I played 70, nevermind 90 minutes. I won't be easy because there is a lot of competition and a great squad here."
Valencia boss Unai Emery will rotate in his usual manner but Roberto Soldado is unlikely to return as he is expected to be kept fresh for the Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid on Thursday.
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals - 5/6