On the road to Nantes: Valero RiveraArticle
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One of the three reigning world champions in the squad of Nantes Valero Rivera is the last part of the series On the Road to Nantes
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On the road to Nantes: Valero Rivera

Just 3 days prior to the EHF Cup semi-final that his club, Nantes, will play against Holstebro, the Spanish left winger Valero Rivera talks to eurohandball.com.
eurohandball.com: What will be your first though when you come on the court for the semi-final against Holstebro?
Valero Rivera: I will think about playing a good game, and to win it for the squad, for all the people that have believed in us. Of course, it will be a very special moment for us and for the club
eurohandball.com: To get an european trophy who put the club in another dimension...
Valero Rivera: Definitely. We haven't got much European experience, be it the club or the players. But now we'll make everything to win.
eurohandball.com: Speaking of that, do you have a preference regarding your opponent if you make it to the final?
Valero Rivera: Oh! We're only thinking about the semi at the moment. We'll see. We can't afford to think about the second game before we've won the first...You can dream of lifting the trophy, but when you think about it too much, that's when you might lose everything.
eurohandball.com: Holstebro is a really young team: is it an advantage for you?
Valero Rivera: No, not really. We may have some more experienced players, but this squad is formed of young players who run around for 60 minutes and know each other very well. More than the individual experience, I think that it's the experience of the team playing together that can count.


eurohandball.com: Even though you're playing in Nantes, this is not your usual home game. Everything is different, is it why you're sleeping away in a hotel all together on friday?
Valero Rivera: Of course, it's special. Because it's a European Cup, even more a final tournament in its first edition. It's cool because it will allow us to get together during the competition. We'll be able to be more focused. That's the kind of state of mind that you can have when you're with your national team.
eurohandball.com: Big matches at home tend to do well with you: after a world champion title at home in Spain, a european trophy in your another home would be fantastic...
Valero Rivera: I think playing at home is a strength, an advantage. The crowd can really help us, I don't see it as a pressure.
eurohandball.com: And on the court, what will be your strengths?
Valero Rivera: Our defence, as it has always been all season. And we'll have to exploit our fastbreaks to the maximum, to score some easy goals. We'll have to get back very quickly on defense, because Holsterbro have got some really quick players.

TEXT: Kevin Domas / br