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First Team

Léo Baptistão: 'We have to start the game with more intensity than Rayo Vallecano to control the game'

The UD Almería second striker, who debuted in Spanish football and in the top tier with the Rayista side, considers it key 'having a good head to set the pace'

'We have to start the game with more intensity than Rayo Vallecano, but we cannot let them put pressure on us early because we need to control the game,' stated UD Almería second striker Léo Baptistão, who has carved a long footballing career with next opponents Rayo Vallecano, with whom he made his debut in Spanish football and also in the first division back in the day.

The Brazilian footballer spoke of his former club saying 'they've been playing football very well for the last few years and above all, they maintain great intensity, an aspect in which we have to overcome them and take them into account, especially at the beginning of the first and second halves. We must have a good head to control the game.'

Baptistão is optimistic and absolutely convinced that on Saturday, UD Almería will get back to winning ways. In fact, he argued in this regard 'the atmosphere in the squad is exciting. We've talked to each other and we can't give up. We haven't scored, but we're hungry for goals. The group is united along with the coaching staff and we do good training. It'll be difficult, but at home there's that extra motivation and we'll have the strong support of our fans, who have always been with us and will continue to be, as we're with them.'

Needless to say, the Santos-born second striker pointed out 'we can't wait to score and that's why it's being difficult for us, but we have skilful players up front; we have to keep a cool head.' He then commented 'despite some results, we played good games. Many new players have just joined the team and we didn't know each other, we needed time even though we don't have it. We're getting closer in training and the head coach is doing a great job.'

On a personal level, the 30-year-old player explained 'I feel much better because I've had time to adapt after competing in two leagues very different from the Spanish and besides, I'm fine after the setback I experienced.'

When asked whether he would celebrate a goal against his former Madrid-based team, Léo replied 'I've got a lot of respect for Rayo, they've given me so much, but I want to win with UD Almería. I truly hope to have a great game against them. I owe a celebration to my wife, who is pregnant and if I find the net, then I'll celebrate it.'