February was arguably the hardest month for Cañizares since he took over from Pizzi: the team played two matches against Real Madrid for a place in the Copa del Rey final, they played two matched in La Liga, one of which being at Camp Nou, and they played a home match against English champions Manchester City in the Champions League, in the 1st knockout round.
The first match was at home against Real Madrid in the Copa, a winnable match, considering they had just beaten Los Galacticos
with great dominance. But at half-time, Valencia were down 1-0, after Umtiti scored a goal in the 30th minute. Ronaldo made Valencia’s dreams of a Copa final very distant, as he scored 2 goals in the second half, making the final score 3-0: a humiliating loss for Cañizares’ team, especially after they won 2-1 in La Liga against the same team.
In between the Real Madrid matches, Valencia played another giant: Barcelona, at Camp Nou. If they lost, the gap between Cañizares’ team and Barcelona would be 6 points. Valencia played like a team full of passion, and they also took the lead through a Guardado volley in the 19th minute. But just before half-time, Messi equalised with what could prove to be a really important goal at the end of the season. After 48 minutes, there was another twist in the tale, as Marc-André Ter Stegen scored an own goal to give Valencia the lead again. 2-1 was the final score, and Valencia are top of the table again, on goal difference.
Next was the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals against Real Madrid. Valencia had lost 3-0 at home, so nobody gave them a real chance to progress. Valencia didn’t play like they wanted to win, and eventually they lost 2-0, meaning they were out of the Copa in the semi-finals for the second time in two seasons.
Next up was a match against Sevilla, at the Mestalla. Sevilla were 17th at that moment, so the fans felt it was a winnable game. Sevilla were took the lead after 14 minutes, but Valencia dominated the match and equalised before half-time. Just after half-time, Muñoz picked up his second yellow card, and that meant Valencia had their work cut out. In the 60th minute, Gameiro put Sevilla in front again, and Valencia never looked like scoring after that. When Gameiro scored the 3-1 in the 78th minute, after a huge mistake from Mallo, people walked out of the stadium. At the post-match press conference, Cañizares bashed his team: “It seems like everytime we are in first, we can’t handle the pressure. The players should grow up, and manage to deal with this, or else I will have to take action.”
Valencia had to get focused really quickly, as they faced Manchester City in the Champions League, at the Mestalla. But they were all but focused, as every pass wasn’t quite sharp enough. After 9 minutes, Mathieu wasn’t focused either, as he made a dumb foul in the box, meaning Alaba had the chance to put Villas-Boas’s team in front. And he did. Not much later, Brahimi equalised, this goal gave the fans some hope. What gave the fans even more hope, was a header by Jonas in the 85th minute: 2-1 to Valencia, and the crowd at Mestalla went crazy. Although Valencia have won, they aren’t in a great position for the return, as Manchester City have an away goal.
The last match in the hectic month of February was a match against Athletic, at Nuevo San Mámes. Valencia won easily: 3-1.
Player of the Month(s):
Andrés Guardado has been back in form this month, grabbing himself 3 goals and 1 assist.
Priméra Division table: