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Valencia and Manchester United go head to head at the Mestalla on Wednesday (Martin Rickett/PA).

Focus on Valencia as Manchester United close out Champions League group stage

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Manchester United head to Valencia on Wednesday with progress to the Champions League knockout phase already assured.

Ahead of the final Group H encounter, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at the Spanish side.

Valencia may not have taken part in UEFA club competition in either of the last two seasons, but they have several players with continental experience and the club have a rich history in the competition.

The Spanish side reached the Champions League final in both 2000 and 2001, while this campaign is their 11th appearance in the group stage of the competition.

They won the Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 1980, before collecting the UEFA Cup and another Super Cup in 2004.

Having finished fourth in LaLiga last term, things have gone awry in the opening months of the 2018-19 season.

Valencia failed to win in their first seven matches of the campaign and now languish 15th in the standings.

A stoppage-time goal by Mouctar Diakhaby saw them snatch a 1-1 home draw against Sevilla at the weekend, while their Champions League hopes have already been snuffed out.

Valencia will play in the Europa League next spring as United are already assured of second and Young Boys cannot catch them in third.

Marcelino, centre right, is embraced by Jose Mourinho after October's draw at Old Trafford

Marcelino became Valencia’s sixth coach in two years when he was hired as manager in May 2017. A former midfielder, he represented Sporting Gijon, Racing Santander, Levante and Elche before injuries led to his retirement at the age of 28.

Marcelino’s coaching career started with part-timers Lealtad in 1997 and has since seen him take charge of a variety of sides, with Sevilla and Villarreal the most recent roles before he arrived at the Mestalla.

Pressure is building on the head coach as his side toils.

Rodrigo

There is no doubt that Valencia have underperformed this season given the talent at their disposal.

Dani Parejo, Jose Gaya, Carlos Soler and Rodrigo, once of Bolton, are class acts, so too Goncalo Guedes – thought the latter will miss Wednesday’s match through injury.

Gabriel Paulista is another to miss out due to a hamstring complaint, but fellow former Arsenal player Francis Coquelin is available. On-loan Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi has the ability to hurt United and came off the bench against Sevilla at the weekend.

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Valencia
Manchester United

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