Created on 19-09-2012 at 00:00 AM
The question was inevitable, and Valencia boss Mauricio Pellegrino was ready for it. What did he think of the headline in the official UEFA Champions League magazine, “Pellegrino's payback"? The former player missed a penalty in the 2001 final which ended in Bayern's most recent triumph in Europe's elite club competition.
“It's the year 2012. Valencia today has nothing to do with the Valencia when I was a player," the 41-year-old declared at Tuesday evening’s pre-patch press conference at the Allianz Arena. The former world-class centre-back, who also finished on the losing side to Real Madrid in the 2000 Champions League final, made it clear he had irrevocably moved on from his past as a player: “I'd like to talk about my players and my team, and not hold a history lesson."
Pellegrino, who took over from Unai Emery at the Spanish club over the summer, was in much less defensive mood when he turned to the opening Group F fixture on Wednesday night. “The biggest mistake we could make is to show too much respect," said the coach, urging his team to shake off any fear. “Mistakes happen in football, always. We should try and make as few as possible."