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Jordi Roura's press conference / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

The away match this Sunday in the Mestalla stadium against Valencia (7 pm) is traditionally one of the toughest trips of the season for FC Barcelona.  Jordi Roura told a press conference on Saturday: “Historically we’ve found it difficult to beat Valencia.  In recent seasons we’ve only won there once”.  The assistant coach is temporarily in charge of the team while Tito Vilanova is on sick leave.

He pointed out that since Ernesto Valverde took over Valencia has been fighting its way back up the league table thanks to some good results.  “They’ve won five of their last seven matches.  They’re focussed, very dangerous on the break and will push us very hard.  I don’t think they’ll play any differently against us, despite the defeat [against Real Madrid] they suffered.   As for Barça’s title challenge, he said: “Winning would be a step forward”.

Focussed on football

Roura was asked by reporters to comment on some of the controversy surrounding last Wednesday’s Cup draw but the assistant coach refused to be drawn: “We’re exclusively focussed on Sunday’s match.  I don’t comment on things that are said, I just talk about football.  The players read stuff but we’re focussed on getting another three points”.

Isaac Cuenca has been loaned out to Dutch legends Ajax until the end of the season.  Today Jordi Roura explained the reasons behind the deal. “Isaac spoke to us about the possibility of playing for Ajax.  He wanted to play, he’s just recovered from injury and, after Tito gave the OK, we decided that it was good for him to go to such a big team like Ajax”.

Busquets, OK

He also commented on the news surrounding a number of other players and in particular dispelled any lingering doubts about the match fitness of Sergio Busquets: “Busquets trained normally and will be available to play in Mestalla”. He heaped praise on Messi’s performance in the Bernabeu: “Messi played very well in Madrid, but as he didn’t manage to score it can maybe seem like he didn’t. He gave us lots of opportunities to penetrate from the second line”. Finally, he made it very clear that the coaching staff are very happy with the work of Alexis. “He’s very important, he’s got a good attitude, he works hard and he brings a great deal to the team”.

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