Valencia captain Dani Parejo was almost lost for words after leading the club back into the group stage of the Champions League.

Los Che were beaten 2-1 in the second leg of their play-off round tie with Monaco at the Stade Louis II but went through  4-3 on aggregate thanks to last week’s 3-1 success at Mestalla.

Parejo, who has been at Valencia since 2011, was understandably overcome with emotion after putting the club back where he feels they belong.

“This is Champions League and we faced a very big team. It was a tough game and a hard knockout match – but we finally made it,” the midfielder told Antena 3. “We are now where we deserve to be!

“It is amazing that so many fans come here to support us. There are no words to describe what we feel but the victory is for all of them. They helped us a lot.”

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Parejo also heaped praise on Alvaro Negredo, who was surprisingly selected to lead the Valencia attack and, after just four minutes of play, responded with the game’s opening goal.

Monaco hit back through Andrea Raggi and Elderson but Nuno’s men held on, much to the Che skipper’s relief.

“It was important to Negredo to be with us tonight,” Parejo said of the former Manchester City striker.

“I saw him training this week and he was really hungry. I told him if he wanted, he could get us into the Champions League!”

As for Negredo, he revealed that he was only informed a matter of hours before kick-off that he had again been selected ahead of Paco Alcacer – despite failing to find the back of the net in Saturday’s scoreless draw at the home of Liga rivals Rayo Vallecano.

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“Coach Nuno told me that I was a starter today [Tuesday],” he stated. “So, I just tried my best to repay him.

“We did well last Saturday but I was not rewarded with a goal. I was today.

“It was important to score away and we did it very early. Then they put us under great pressure but we managed to resist.

“It was our goal to get the qualification and we made it despite the defeat.

“I was lucky to visit many great stadiums with Man City. We will now try to enjoy every place we visit in this season’s Champions League.”

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Meanwhile, Javi Fuego could barely contain his excitement at the prospect of playing in the Champions League proper for the first time in his career.

“We knew it would be a very complicated knockout and knew they would put huge pressure on us after the first leg,” he added.

“It seemed we would have it easier after Negredo’s goal, but they levelled the game and then went ahead.

“But we managed to get through and this is now the icing on the cake after last season’s success.

“We remember the team-mates that are not with us today. And of course all the supporters that made a long bus journey to be with us.

“Now I finally will be able to enjoy the Champions League at the age of 31!”

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