Osasuna v Espanyol preview
Last Updated: April 10, 2012 1:23pm
Jose Luis Mendilibar: Targets Europe
Osasuna coach Jose Luis Mendilibar has set his side the target of qualifying for Europe after a disappointing week in which they conceded 11 goals.
Sky Bet Odds
Osasuna 29/20, Draw 9/4, Espanyol 19/10.Bet now
Despite their fine form earlier in the campaign, Mendilibar had always insisted that Primera Division survival was Osasuna's main goal.
But, having watched his side follow up their 5-1 defeat to Real Madrid with a 6-0 humiliation at the hands of Rayo Vallecano, he believes they need an objective to play for.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday night's home game against Espanyol, he told the club's website: "I think we have learned a little in Vallecas. We didn't go out concentrated. There wasn't tension and at no moment did we look like coming back. Both on and off the field we didn't have the capacity to change anything.
"I believe that this team needs to have marked objectives because it appears that now we have achieved the principal one, the objective to win a match isn't enough.
"If we do things fairly well, we can still try to reach a European place."
Mendilibar showed his disapproval with the first-half performance against Rayo by making three substitutions at half-time and he is expected to make a raft of changes for the visit of Espanyol.
Marc Bertran returns from injury and Roland Lamah from suspension, but Javad Nekounam and Sergio Fernandez have been ruled out with foot and knee injuries respectively.
Espanyol recovered from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Real Sociedad at the weekend, but their own European ambitions have been hampered by a run of four games without a victory.
The Catalan outfit now face three matches against rivals for the European positions, but coach Mauricio Pochettino is treating that as a positive.
He told a press conference broadcast on the club's website: "We haven't been able to move forward in the games we've played against Levante, Zaragoza or Real Sociedad, but we will try to make the leap and aspire to important things.
"It could be an advantage to face our direct rivals. If we win against Osasuna it will give us a good jump up the rankings."
The Argentinian is also expected to make changes for a second game in four days with Jordi Amat likely to replace the suspended Raul Rodriguez in central defence, but Pochettino would not be drawn on who will play in goal as Christian Alvarez is now fit after three months out.
Best bet: Espanyol -1 - 5/1
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