Jonathan Walters: FA Cup run can inspire Stoke City in Europe
Jonathan Walters expects Stoke City to take confidence from their FA Cup run when the Potters make the trip to Valencia
Jonathan Walters believes Stoke City’s progress in the FA Cup can help inspire Tony Pulis’ side ahead of a daunting trip to Valencia in the Europa League on Thursday.
Stoke eased into the quarter-finals with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Crawley Town on Sunday, bouncing back from a disappointing 1-0 defeat by Valencia at the Britannia in the first leg of their last-32 tie in Europe’s second tier competition.
And Walters, who scored Stoke’s opener at Broadfield Stadium, believes that cup victory will give the Premier League outfit an injection of confidence ahead of their trip to the Mestalla.
“It was the quarter-final victory over West Ham that turned things round for us last season when we had been through a difficult spell, and look what happened then,” Walters told Stoke’s website.
“Hopefully, this win will have the same effect on our season now by getting us going in the league again and maybe even causing a shock out in Valencia.
“We know it’s a tall order and the odds are stacked against us, but we’re not out of it yet by any means, so we’ll go over there and give it our best shot.
“Valencia showed here last week what a quality side they are, so it’s going to be extremely difficult to get a result out there, but we’ll see what we can do.”
Mehmet Topal’s stunning 36th minute strike provided Valencia with a vital away goal, and Stoke face a tough assignment beating the La Liga outfit, who are unbeaten in six home games in Europe.
“The cup win has given everyone a lift,” added Walters. “A win is a win at the end of the day whatever the circumstances and that gives you confidence.
“One of the pleasing things about it was that we kept a clean sheet and I thought we defended very well, especially with one or two lads coming into the side.
“That sets us up nicely for the tough games which we’ve got coming and obviously it is very important that we get back on track in the league.”
Pre-match facts: Valencia v Stoke City
• Valencia are unbeaten in six European home fixtures − four wins and two draws − since they lost 1-0 to Manchester United in the Champions League group stage in 2010.
• Stoke City striker Peter Crouch is yet to score in six games against Spanish opponents.
• Valencia’s Daniel Parejo played in England in 2008, representing Queens Park Rangers while on loan from Real Madrid.
• Stoke’s 1-0 defeat by Valencia was their first in European competition. Their previous seven matches yielded five wins a two draws.