Barcelona: Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez insisted Wednesday Actual Madrid are favourites to progress from their Clasico Copa del Rey semi-final tie.
The Catalans face Madrid on the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday within the first leg, with out injured trio Pedri, Ousmane Dembele and Robert Lewandowski.
Barcelona have a seven level benefit on Madrid in LaLiga, however have suffered two consecutive defeats — elimination by Manchester United within the Europa League after which a stumble in opposition to minnows Almeria.
“It’s a robust Madrid, a Madrid which have gained trophies lately, we’re a crew within the technique of development,” Xavi instructed a information convention.
“Madrid are competing in Europe, they thrashed Liverpool at their floor, they’re favourites, to be trustworthy.
“Now we have the persona and gamers to harm them too, we’ve proven it — for me it’s fairly a fair tie.”
Barcelona beat reigning LaLiga and European champions Actual Madrid within the Spanish Tremendous Cup remaining in January, lifting their first trophy since Xavi took over in November 2021.
Regardless of their effective begin to 2023, Barca suffered one other European exit and missed the possibility to maneuver 10 factors away from Madrid in La Liga after Almeria beat them for the primary time ever on Sunday.
With out injured duo Pedri and Dembele, joined by Lewandowski who suffered a hamstring pressure on the weekend, Xavi stated his crew needed to be courageous.
“Now we have to be extra of a crew than ever, as a lot in defence as in assault, or strategically,” stated the coach.
“These video games are determined by small particulars, we’ve got to be very courageous, to have persona and lose the ball as little as doable, as a result of they’ll harm you with Vinicius, (Fede) Valverde, Rodrygo, (Karim) Benzema.
“It’s a recreation to point out our mannequin of play, as we did within the Tremendous Cup.”
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti stated his crew wouldn’t make the identical errors as they did in that 3-1 defeat in Saudi Arabia.
“Within the Tremendous Cup recreation we lacked dedication, energy, we made particular person errors,” Ancelotti instructed reporters.
“Repeating these errors will have an effect on us, however I don’t assume we’ll repeat them.
“It’s an important recreation, we’re very near profitable a contest that is essential for us.”
In earlier Clasicos, Barcelona have deployed Ronald Araujo at right-back to try to nullify the specter of Madrid winger Vinicius Junior.
Ancelotti stated his crew was not over-dependent on the Brazilian.
“It’s a constructive factor, he’s top-of-the-line gamers on this planet,” added the coach.
“He decides video games in our favour many occasions, having a dependence on him is sort of regular, as a result of at this second, he’s top-of-the-line gamers in soccer.”
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