Valencia were once playing among the best in La Liga and Europe, with two La Liga titles and the same amount of Champions League final appearances between 1999 and 2004.

Back then, they had the likes of Santiago Cañizares, Gaizka Mendieta, Roberto Ayala, Pablo Aimar and Ruben Baraja to call upon. A side that were knocking the heavyweights of Real Madrid and Barcelona off their perch.

In Los Che’s 2008 Copa del Rey triumph, they had future World Cup winners David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata to call upon, but financial trouble and backroom chaos has since seen them fall on hard times, finishing as low as 12th last season.

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Yet, a combination of experience and youth now sees them wedged in the middle of Spain’s big two, following a run of five wins and 21 goals.

Revolving doors

Since 2012, only one manager has been in charge of more than 50 games, Nuno Esprito Santo, with eight sackings in five years, while Voro has been caretaker coach on three separate occasions.

Valencia, famed for producing world-class youth products, have also failed to keep hold of their young stars, as Villa, Silva and Mata have all left in an attempt to keep the club afloat financially.

At one stage, Valencia had a series of debt issues that rose to around €400m and saw players go unpaid for weeks, causing a downturn in form on the pitch.

A takeover by Singaporean businessman Peter Lim in 2012, has been the club’s saving grace, with Los Che’s financial turmoil a figment of the past, and while performances have been lacking, a new lease of life under the tutelage of Marcelino, a former manager at local rivals Villarreal.

Unbeaten and scoring

In the summer, Valencia cleared some deadwood and aging players, with Alvaro Negredo, Diego Alves and Yoel all leaving, but the club also bought well.

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In came Juventus keeper Neto, along with Gabriel Paulista from Arsenal and made Simone Zaza and Fabian Orellana loans permanent.

There has also seen some brilliant short-term acquisitions, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Goncalo Guedes joining, along with Inter Milan duo Geoffrey Kondogbia and Jeison Murillo. Barring Guedes, Valencia’s recruitment was largely based around bringing experience to go with a youthful squad, with 20-year-old midfielder Carlos Soler the pick of the bunch, starting every La Liga match.

This blend has seen Marcelino’s men improve the club’s goalscoring form, as they finished last season with just 56 goals to their name. By comparison, Valencia has netted 21 times in just five games, including a 4-0 win over Sevilla.

Draws over Madrid’s top two sides, Real and Atletico, and an unbeaten record only add extra light to just how much the Mestalla outfit have improved this season Now only time will tell this is merely a flutter with success or they are on the road back to the greatness that neutrals have been wanting for years.