Valencia’s shame, Barça’s boasts and Mourinho’s mistranslation

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They let themselves down, they let la Liga down, they let the blog down and most of all they let poor Unai Emery down, their coach who lost the battle of being the coolest young manager on the block to his ginger-tinged Chelsea counterpart.

Valencia’s 3-0 defeat to Chelsea, which means the Mestalla men will spend the start of 2012 diddling about in the Europa League along with Stoke, produced little sympathy in Wednesday’s Spanish papers.

Marca branded the loss as “cruel, but deserved”. “A bad day to make such huge defensive errors,” notes Enrique Ortega on Chelsea’s first two efforts in Stamford Bridge. “The best players are in the Champions League and Didier Drogba deserves to be in it,” admitted the AS match report, which had no complaints about the result either.

Even the ever-enthusiastic Valencia coach had his antenna drooping a little in despair after the rather comprehensive defeat as Emery pretended to look forward to the prospect of 25 matches to come in UEFA’s special losers-and–outcasts competition. “We need to raise ourselves again, in this case it’s for the Europa League," he brave-faced. "We can be comfortable there and we want to win it.”

Stand and deliver: Emery and Villas-Boas

No such problems for Barcelona, whose 4-0 win over BATE allowed the Catalan press to spend a few minutes away from talking about how Iker Casillas is terrified of Leo Messi – Sport’s headline on Wednesday – to be tremendously smug about the fact that it was largely a second string side, with the assistance of Pedro who popped up with a couple of goals.

“[The youngsters] showed their merits before an international audience, that there’s hope and that la Masia is the centre of a marvellous production process,” boasted JM Artels, citing an “international audience” as only 37,000 came to the Camp Nou to see this glorious future out on the pitch.

Sport's Joan Vehils was particularly excited by the notion that a well-paid footballer turned up for a game and sat on the bench for 90 minutes without a showbiz strop. That admirable figure was Gerard Piqué who is “an example” for such brilliant behaviour.

"We're up late on a school night!"

A mixture of Real Madrid’s first team, Castilla squad and Esteban Granero will be facing Ajax in Wednesday’s Champions League dead rubber in Amsterdam as José Mourinho looks to equal a club record from the early 1960s by winning 15 league and European ties in a row.

The Madrid manager seemed to be in good form – snarky – when he claimed that the UEFA translator changing an answer given in English into Spanish had missed out a large chunk of his response to a question from Dutch TV in regards to last season’s match which produced sudden yellow cards for his players and a UEFA suspension for Mourinho.

And to be fair to Mourinho, that had happened with the translator dutifully reporting that the Madrid coach was delighted to be back in Amsterdam but failing to reproduce his remarks that only he has been punished by the organisation for forcing yellow cards and not anyone else.

Asked by the press to repeat everything in Spanish, Mourinho huffed “I’m not a translator” – a claim that will never find agreement among Barcelona fans.