Madrid, Dec 4: New Valencia coach Gary Neville will get a good idea of the task ahead of him as he watches his new side entertain leaders FC Barcelo in the La Liga on Saturday night.
Neville will be watching from the stands after being officially presented by his new club on Thursday and his brother Philip will guide the team along with club delegate ‘Voro’.
It could be a long 90 minutes for the Nevilles against a Barcelo side who have a four-point lead over Atletico Madrid and a six-point advantage over Real Madrid at the top of the table.
That could have been reduced by the time the game kicks off as both of Barcelo’s title rivals begin their games earlier on Saturday, but with the Catalan side playing their best football of the season, confidence will be high among ‘Cules’ that they can take the three points.
Luis Suarez may not have been nomited for the fil of the Balon D’Or this week along with teammates Lionel Messi and Neymar, but the Uruguayan has been just as important and his partners in attack, scoring 12 goals and giving 16 assists to his team-mates.
Meanwhile Neymar is in the best form of his career and will give Valencia right-back David Barragan a torrid time on Saturday and Messi looks almost back to his best after two months out with a knee injury.
The trio will be fresh for Saturday after being rested during 6-1 King’s Cup win at home against Villanovense on Tuesday night, although former Valencia defender Jeremy Mathieu is a doubt for the trip as the result of a slight muscle problem which saw him taken off 10 minutes before the end of that game.
Sergi Roberto and Javier Mascherano should be available for the match, which means coach Luis Enrique will have his strongest available side in Mestalla.
Barcelo’s last four games have seen them score four goals past Real Madrid, six past AS Roma, four against Real Sociedad and six more against Villanovense, so Saturday does look as if it will indeed be a test of character for Neville’s new side. IANS