sport

Valencia v Basel preview

Valencia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi believes his players can put in the "valiant" effort they need to overturn a three-goal deficit and beat FC Basel on Thursday to reach the Europa League semi-finals.

The 2004 UEFA Cup winners were considered favourites to progress from the quarter-final tie before they were stunned by a 3-0 defeat in Basle a week ago.

A Matias Delgado double and a late goal from Valentin Stocker left the Spaniards a huge mountain to climb, but Pizzi is convinced his side can go through.

"In the first leg we created plenty of goalscoring chances," Pizzi said to www.valenciacf.es."We weren't able to score then but what if we make our chances on Thursday.

"If our fans stand behind us, if we are sharp and we make our rivals feel uncomfortable from the start, who is to say that we cannot score three or more goals and progress to the next round.

"With a valiant performance, I see no reason why that cannot be done."

Valencia go into the encounter at the Mestalla stadium on the back of Sunday's goalless draw at Valladolid.

Los Che, who are eighth in the Primera Liga, are looking to halt a four-match winless run in all competitions on Thursday.

The Swiss defending champions followed their impressive performance against Valencia with a goalless draw at home to Thun at the weekend.

The outcome kept Murat Yakin's outfit one point clear of Grasshopper Club at the top of the Swiss Super League.

Basel are still on course to win a treble this season but defender Fabian Schar has warned his team-mates not to rest on their laurels in Spain.

"It's a great advantage we have," he said. "We travel to Valencia with a good feeling but we still know it will be difficult.

"Valencia will surely give their best in front of their crowd."

Basel are without injured striker Marco Streller and suspended defender Marek Suchy. However, forward Giovanni Sio returns from suspension.

The hosts welcome back midfielder Javi Fuego, who served a one-match ban last week.