Valencia v Real Madrid preview: Zinedine Zidane's men look to enhance La Liga lead
By Tim Clement
Last Updated: 22/02/17 5:02pm
Real Madrid will be looking to extend their La Liga advantage to four points when they visit Valencia in Wednesday's rearranged Mestalla clash, live on Sky Sports 1HD.
Zinedine Zidane's side have two games in hand on the chasing pack due to their involvement in the World Club Cup and the postponement of their trip to Celta Vigo at the start of the month.
Four successive wins have kept Real at the summit but though they head to the east coast as strong favourites, Zidane is braced for a tough test against a side whose form has slowly picked up under caretaker boss Voro, a 2-0 weekend win over Athletic Bilbao lifting them seven points clear of the drop zone.
"We know the importance of the Valencia game in terms of the league," Zidane told a pre-match press conference.
"We're up against a team that is playing much better lately and getting good results. Winning would mean having three more points, but we're going to have to work hard for it.
"We'll come up against a good team at a difficult ground. Valencia weren't getting the results before but they are now. My message is always the same. We know the league is difficult. It's February and we're doing OK now, but that doesn't mean anything."
The travelling fans will also be hoping to see Gareth Bale continue his comeback after the Welshman returned with a sublime strike as a substitute against Espanyol following a 12-week lay-off but Zidane was giving nothing away.
"He's good and happy," the Frenchman said of the Wales international. "Physically he's strong and we'll see if he'll play tomorrow from the start or not".
Zidane has confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo will not be rested while Isco should also be assured of a starting berth after assisting both goals at the weekend.
Alvaro Morata also enhanced his claim after netting against Espanyol to take his tally to seven - two more than Karim Benzema.
Valencia, however, have kept back-to-back back clean sheets having previously conceded in each of their first 21 games in all competitions this season, and Zidane's side have left the Mestalla with a solitary point from their last two trips.
Watch Valencia v Real Madrid from 5.30pm on Sky Sports 1 HD on Wednesday and follow with our live blog on skysports.com and the Sky Sports apps if you're on the move.