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Josep Guardiola during the press conference / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Josep Guardiola acknowledged that in the Cup everything is going according to plan: the team will play in the Camp Nou for a spot in the final, after managing a 1-1 draw in Mestalla, in front of a home crowd. “It’s a perfect situation, we’re close,” said the manager, he also dismissed injures as a possible excuse for a hypothetical exit from the competition. “We’ll play 11 vs 11, 7 men will be on the bench and we’re on form. This is a game of men, it’s vey demanding, we need people that are ready to play,” he said. On the match-ready players, he said: “the most doubtful player is Busquets, Xavi is OK and Alexis is getting there, even though he still has a little discomfort.”

“I honestly believe that we have to win”

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.”

Ball possession, key

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.

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