The Barça coach in his pre-game press conference pointed out the 'players are only too aware it is a derby'
FC Barcelona face this Wednesday the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final tie against Espanyol away from home at the RCDE Stadium. A city derby, commitment and emotion is guaranteed according to Barça boss Ernesto Valverde as a game between the two Barcelona based clubs “reduces the difference that there may be in the league due to the emotional factor because it is a derby and all the players are aware of that.” Furthermore, the coach identified his team’s opponents as being in “the best form of the season.”
“I see Espanyol in great form and their stats confirm that after recent results in the league and after coming back in the last round of the Copa against Levante. As well, they will try to take advantage of playing at home,” continued Valverde.
The Barça coach predicted a “very open game” in which his team would have to be careful about having “bad moments” as that could cost them dear over two legs against a side who “concede few chances and can hurt you on the counter attack.”