A La Liga preview of Valencia v Sevilla
Last Updated: 11/01/13 2:07pm
Ivan Rakitic (left): Urges fans to back the club
Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic has called on the club's fans to get behind the team as they bid to close the gap on the leading pack in the Primera Division with victory at Valencia tomorrow.
Sevilla go into the match in 11th place and five points behind their eighth-placed opponents knowing that a win is vital if they are to bridge the gap to the leading sides.
Croatian Rakitic believes the backing of the fans is important if Sevilla are to put together a good run in the league.
"I understand that they are concerned that the situation is a bit complicated, but we need your support, the whistles do not help us and together we can pull this off," Rakitic told Sevilla FC Radio.
"After beating Osasuna, it is important to do the same at the Mestalla. But it would not help if we do not win. If not, I'd rather lose in Valencia and win the next four games."
Sevilla go in to the Valencia game on the back of reaching the last eight of the Copa del Rey with a 6-2 aggregate win over Real Mallorca.
Having won the first leg 5-0 they lost the second leg 2-1 with the Sevilla goal coming from Manu del Moral.
Valencia also advanced to the last eight, beating Osasuna 2-1 at the Mestalla to complete a 4-1 aggregate win with Tino Costa and Roberto Soldado getting the second-leg goals.
Valencia midfielder Sergio Canales is close to a return to action after recovering from a knee injury which has kept him out since April.
Although Canales has been passed fit to return to training he is unlikely to be ready to face Sevilla.
Left-back Jeremy Mathieu is still troubled by problems with his Achilles tendons, with the one in his right leg still showing problems during medical tests in Barcelona this week.
Mathieu is to continue treatment in Barcelona and could return to training next week.
Coach Ernesto Valverde is also without Algerian midfielder Sofiane Feghouli who has joined up with his country for the African Nations Cup.