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Champions League playoffs: Monaco not afraid of Valencia challenge

Monaco defender Andrea Raggi has said his side have "no reason" to fear Valencia after drawing them in the Champions League playoffs.

The principality club finished third in Ligue 1, but with France's UEFA coefficient having plummeted that was only good enough for a place in the third qualifying round.

Leonardo Jardim's men, who lost to Juventus in last season's quarterfinal, must now beat the team that finished fourth in La Liga to progress.

"They're a strong team -- as strong as Monaco," Raggi, 31, told his club's official website.

"Last season we showed great solidity in the Champions League, and there's no reason for us to be afraid of our opponents.

"Both legs will be great games -- I just hope that we'll win. The first game will be played in Spain, and it's up to us to go there with the ambition of winning it."

Meanwhile, Valencia captain Dani Parejo was left to bemoan the prospect of "the most difficult tie of the round."

He told a news conference: "Monaco are a Champions League level side, and that is what will be waiting for us if we manage to qualify.

"Monaco reached the quarterfinals last year. They are a strong team, tough. It is the most difficult tie of the round."

Parejo called on Valencia's fans to make Mestalla a "cauldron" to help their team's attempts to take a lead to Monaco.

"Many teams prefer to play the second game at home, because it seems an advantage, but if you go there with a good result you can go into the second game more relaxed," he said.

"There will be a lot on the line in the first leg. Mestalla must be a pressure cauldron, as it was last year.

"It's obviously not the opponent we hoped for. It will be a tight tie, decided by little details."

Information from ESPN FC correspondent Dermot Corrigan was used in this report.