Valencia v Rayo Vallecano: 3 things that could shape the outcome to La Liga game.

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Valencia v Rayo Vallecano could be the game that finally provides Gary Neville with his first league win as Valencia manager. Something that is long overdue.

Los Che have slipped right out of contention for the European places and currently find themselves seven points behind Eibar in sixth position.

The games are starting to fly by and although Neville might not consider his tenure to be long-term, the locals still want their club playing at the highest possible level.


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Champions League football isn't out of the question just yet, but Valencia need to start picking up points, and quickly.

Let's take a look at three things that could shape the outcome of this one...

Crestfallen Rayo

Rayo manager Paco Jemez will know that his side still haven't recovered from the 10-2 humbling at the hands of Real Madrid. He told Spanish daily AS via BBC Sport: "We feel humiliated and abused. This doesn't benefit Madrid, or us or Spanish football. We've lost a lot of credibility.

"Today, nobody won, we all lost. It's shameful, a disgrace. These are things which happen and I hope that we don't see it happening again anywhere else."

It was easy to understand his ire. Rayo had two players sent off in the opening half hour when leading 2-1 and then were torn to shreds.

Since then, the 'lightning' have drawn two and lost two but looked shadows of their former selves.

Their winless run actually stretches back to early December but Rayo were at least playing with some gusto before the Madrid rout. 

Clearly they've had the stuffing knocked out of them.

Negredo the man?

Valencia's Alvaro Negredo was frozen out consistently by Neville's predecessor Nuno Santo, an act believed to have caused some friction behind the scenes.

It's understandable when we see what the target man brings to the team when given half a chance.

Handed a start against Granada in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 clash by the ex-Manchester United man, the ex-Manchester City striker repaid his manager's faith with a hat-trick.

No defence is no defence

If there's one thing that's as intoxicating as it is exasperating about Rayo, it is their penchant for not changing style to combat a particular opponent.

Paco Jemez has been quoted as saying that he is quite happy to lose by four, five or even six, as long as he sees that his side are playing in the style that he prefers - playing with expression and without fear.

It is precisely that refusal to conform that has placed Jemez as a front runner to take over the Spanish national team when Vicente del Bosque steps down after Euro 2016.

But playing with wanton abandon, sometimes without a defence to speak of, is no defence when you're routinely hammered each week.

If the visitors want anything from this game, time to shut up shop.

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La Liga
Gary Neville

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