Every game we play this season is the most important match of the season and a 'must win' and I suggest that will continue for a long time yet starting again on Wednesday when we to to Ghent in the Champions League. Unfortunately instead of this game being billed as a local derby it was all about other issues. 1. Why was Negredo and De Paul not included in the squad. 2. If Nuno does not win this game he will surely be out of a job (like Mourinho at Chelsea ) 3. Will the fans all shout for Nuno out during play. 4. Are we going to be humiliated by our neighbours.
Well the game started at a fast pace with Levante throwing players forward to disrupt the Valencia defence, particularly Santos and Vezo who had not played together before. In fact it was the visitors lying bottom of the league who were making the best openings in the first minutes of the game. Jaume coming to the rescue like he has done many times this season to keep the rampant Levante at bay. The half was a tedious scrappy affair with only 2 disallowed goals by Valencia to mention. First Feghouli was ruled offside when he blasted home and then it was the turn of Alcacer to be denied by the same linesman. Both times the official made the correct call it has to be said.
Half time was welcomed by the home supporters to ease the tedium and be entertained for the first time in the evening by the local band marching onto the field and the second half began just as badly.
Bakkali was bought on to replace the pathetic Piatti but began looking eager but a little out of his depth. However, before you all start shouting at me, he gradually got into the game more and really livened up the home side. In the 64th minute Andre Gomez stung the palms of Ruben in the Levante goal and when Feghouli went for the rebound he was tripped by the keeper. Alcacer stepped up and made no mistake from the spot. Then we began to see the real Valencia of old. It was like the confidence pouring back into the team and after Parejo replaced Perez we really came to life. A few minutes later Alcacer chipped the keeper after a mistake in the Levante defence and Feghouli racing in slid the ball home to deny him his goal. It matters not who finishes, the important thing is it is now 2.0 and Valencia and the crowd have come to life.
During the last 20 minutes Levante could not get near the ball with Valencia going from absolute rubbish in the first hour to playing with fresh confidence and showing what they can do. Bakkali seemed to be involved in everything and although looking clumsy at times was really causing problems. It was a fitting finale when he cut in from the left side and unleashed a tremendous shot into the far top corner. He seemed pretty pleased with himself and so he should be for a fantastic first goal for the club. The club is in desperate need of a new hero and OK it is a bit early but who knows.
Conclusion A totally pathetic first hour with a total transformation after the first goal. It is obvious the problem is with the players confidence and the pressure coming from the fans and the media. A young team and a young manager deserve support. I have to give credit the the fans behind the goal and around the ground for their non stop encouragement for the team throughout the match but I have never heard in all my years of watching football, fans calling for the manager to be sacked after winning a local derby 3-0. He has to be given at least until the end of this year to put things right and I am sure that a replacement is being sought right now. However sacking him now would be totally pointless unless we want Phil Neville to take over until replacement is found.
Jaume 7 Yet again called on to make the saves at the right time to keep us in the game and help secure the points. I wonder how Alves and Ryan are thinking right now
Cancello 6.0 Another good game and never lacking in confidence
Santos 5.0 OK they didn't score against us but he doesn't always look the safest of central defenders and his heading directions look a bit suspect at times
Vezo 5.5 Again, helped keep a clean sheet and did OK but whether he is top class is still in doubt. However can be relied on to come in and do a job when needed,
Gaya 6.5 Had a reasonable game but need to improve his crossing as he seems to lost the way a bit recently.
Fuego 5.5 An experienced player who is capable of better but was reasonable compared to the others.
Perez 6.5 Worked really hard as usual but picked up his weekly yellow card for another needless foul. I do not think he will ever change and has to curb his temper and frustrations.
Gomez 6.0 Made the first goal with his powerful shot and was involved but gave the ball away a little too often
Feghouli 6.5 Not his usual menacing self but worked hard and made the penalty and stole Paco's goal. But I am not blaming him for that, but luckily he got the benefit of the offside flag or he could have lost us the goal.
Alcacer 7.0 just manages the top mark for the penalty and making the second goal possible for Feghouli.
Piatti 4.0 I am not an anti Piatti but he was like a kid running onto the pitch and chasing around after the players and falling over.
Please if you bother to read this leave a message that can add something to the discussion. I mean a bit more than Nuno out
Bakkali 7.0 For Piatti 45 mins. Deserves the score for the work effort, crosses and the spectacular goal to liven us all up.
Parejo 6.5 Not on for long but I like to see him play when he is playing well. He brings something to our play that nobody else is able to in my opinion.
Barragan N/A Not on long but needs to get some play time for when he is needed, which could be any time if Cancello is injured, he did OK.
Alcacer P 1.0 64 mins
Feghouli 2.0 72 mins
Bakkali 3.0 78 mins
Yellow Cards Perez and Gomez