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Andre ready for Mestalla challenge

Andre Villas-Boas is preparing for our ‘toughest opponent’ of pre-season as we travel to Valencia for a friendly at the famous Mestalla stadium on Thursday night.

Valencia have finished third in La Liga behind giants Barcelona and Real Madrid for the last three seasons.

Such is the dominance of the big two in Spain, however, they finished 30 points behind second-placed Barca and 39 adrift of champions Real Madrid last term.

They’ve played in the Champions League for four of the last six seasons and reached the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2011-12 after bowing out at the group stage of the Champions League.

Roberto Saldado top-scored again last season with 27 goals in 51 games in all competitions, taking his tally to an impressive 52 in 95 since joining from Getafe in 2010-11.

Former player Mauricio Pellegrino took over the manager’s reins from Unai Emery in May and the squad is packed with talent, including internationals Adil Rami (France), Joao Pereira (Portugal), Andres Guardado (Mexico) and Fernando Gago (Argentina).

“Now we face our toughest opponent in an away trip, so we’ll have a good understanding of how things are at the moment,” said Andre.

“A team that has changed the manager, a team that finds it difficult to compete with the two main Spanish clubs but is always up there in third or fourth and always qualifying for the Champions League.

“It will be a very good game for us to play."

As Andre continues to point out, everything is building towards our Premier League opener at Newcastle on Saturday, August 18.

“There is still lots of time before the Newcastle game, we continue preparing and the most important thing is to arrive at that Newcastle game perfect fitness-wise, with three points in mind.”