The manager believes that the match against Valencia this Wednesday will be “very demanding,” and that the “players need match ready” in order to get to the Cup final. On the players that are dealing with minor fitness issues, he said, “Xavi is OK, Alexis is getting there and Busquets’ fitness is the most doubtful”.
After the one-all draw at Mestalla, Guardiola said that the result was good ahead of the return leg. Why? Because didn’t allow for a euphoric atmosphere that can sometimes come after a big away-leg victory -like what happened after the Bernabéu- and because it obligates the players to go for the win at the Camp Nou. Ahead of Wednesday’s match, Guardiola dismissed a possible 0-0 draw as a likely outcome: “only by winning are we going to get to the final.” He added: “I imagine that we’ll have to play a good game and we’ll have to score.”
When asked about Banega and his importance within the Valencia squad, Guardiola was clear: “Banega is a fantastic player. We’ll have to be plugged into the game to render Banega ineffective. If they are behind us, Bandega won’t be as big of an issue, if we’re behind them, Banage will be key.”
The manager, however, preferred to make a broader analysis of Valencia: “they are a team that have always given us a lot of problems ... similarly to Real Sociedad.”
During the press conference, Guardiola reiterated his message: “I know that we’ve won a lot of titles, but these players want to reach another final. The Cup final is one of the most beautiful ones.” For this reason, the match this Wednesday is key. It’s not everyday that you qualify for a final. (via FCBarcelona.com)