Press conference held on Tuesday afternoon
Joao Pereira acknowledged on Tuesday that qualifying for Europe next season via La Liga is difficult, but noted that the route is ‘not impossible’ for the club. The Valencia CF full back also rejected any suggestion that the side would be giving up on that option and focusing exclusively on the current UEFA Europa League campaign.
"We are professionals; we play all matches with the same desire,” stated Pereira in a press conference ahead of the trip to Switzerland. “The most important thing is to win; we won’t be putting in maximum effort on Thursday and then sitting back and relaxing on Sunday. We shall be pushing just as hard for the victory.”
"The table doesn’t lie. We are far off seventh place and it is very difficult, but it is not impossible. We have the second option of winning the Europa League and earning a place in Europe that way,” added the Portuguese. "When we started the season the goal was to return to the Champions League, but with the bad start to the season we dropped off the pace. Then we defined the objective of Europa League qualification. We are far off it, but we believe it is possible despite being difficult.”
Pereira admitted that the mood within the squad is not the best after the two most recent La Liga results.
"It’s not our greatest time at the moment. We were winning 0-2 in Almeria and drew 2-2, then we were winning 1-0 against Getafe and eventually lost. Obviously it’s not a fantastic time for us, but we have to change the mentality as we are playing for a lot in Basel."
"In the second half against Getafe we had very good 15-20 minutes and created chances, but we do not score in that spell. The players do not want to lose matches nor should anyone think we've given up, but when you don’t put away chances and your opponents do, then it can be really tough.”
Asked about the game against Basel, to be played behind closed doors, Pereira reflected on what has been a somewhat strange UEFA Europa League campaign for Valencia CF.
"It's weird, the same thing happened in Cyprus against Kiev, when we had to go there because of the troubles in Ukraine. We did well then and the current situation is better for us, because Basel will not have the home support behind them," he stated.