Villarreal vs Elche preview - Marcelino proud of top-six chase

Posted Saturday, May 09, 2015 by PA

Villarreal can all but secure sixth place in the Primera Division by beating Elche on Sunday, a feat which coach Marcelino believes will cap "a super season".

The Yellow Submarine have endured a torrid last two months, in which they have failed to win a single game as well as losing important players to injury.

However, Marcelino insists he is still proud of his team, who are six points clear of Athletic Bilbao in the table and will need just one point from their last two matches to guarantee a top-six finish if they can overcome Elche at El Madrigal.

"If we win we'll be in an optimal position and if we clinch sixth place I think it will be an extraordinary achievement after getting to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey and getting knocked out of the Europa League by Sevilla," Marcelino told a press conference.

"We haven't been able to have all our players available and have been without seven or eight players, but what's happened has happened."

The loss of captain Bruno Soriano to a knee injury in January had arguably the biggest impact on the team's slide in form, and Marcelino is delighted to be able to welcome the midfielder back to action for the first time in four months.

"Bruno is a very important player for us," said the coach.

"He is our main reference and a huge pillar in our team. It's great to have him available again. He's been out for a very long time so we need to be patient with him but his character means he is desperate to help us out in this important moment for the team."

Luciano Vietto has also overcome a niggling muscle problem to make it into the squad to face Elche, but Marcelino is still without Tomas Pina, Mateo Musacchio, Sergio Asenjo, Adrian Marin, Ikechukwu Uche and Denis Cheryshev through injury while Victor Ruiz is suspended.

Elche make the short trip to Villarreal in jubilant mood after securing top-flight survival for a second consecutive season after winning 2-1 at Malaga last week, winning their fourth match in five.

Marcelino doused Fran Escriba's side in praise ahead of the match, saying: "After having such a difficult season they have achieved their objective by going on a marvellous run.

"Elche are going to make things very difficult for us, but we have a lot to play for and we are very hopeful of picking up a victory that we feel is overdue."

Elche are without goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton after he was sent off against Malaga, while defender Damian Suarez is also suspended and David Lomban is injured.

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