“We were very intense, we played at a very high level. We need to commend the players on their ambition,” said Jordi Roura after this evening’s Copa del Rey match against Córdoba (5-0). The assistant manager, who filled in for Tito Vilanova this Thursday, admitted that he has hoped to send Messi in at some point during the game, but Sergi Roberto’s injury hampered his plans. “We wanted to give him some playing time, but the fact that Sergi Roberto couldn’t continue made it clear that Messi didn’t have to play,” said Roura.

The assistant manager went on to highlight the performances of Thiago, Villa and Alexis. “Thiago is playing at a very high level. He started with the right attitude and he had exceptional intensity, like most of the players,” he said on the Blaugrana midfielder. On Villa, Roura noted that “he can score a lot of goals, that's his strength and he put in an exceptional game. He’s showings us what we already know: That he’ll be a very important player for us this season.” On the Chilean Alexis Sánchez, the manager said: “The work Alexis puts in is extraordinary. But before he wasn’t scoring. We’re very pleased with his work. It was getting hard for him and hopefully this will help him.”

Three matches against Málaga

With qualification for the quarter-finals of the Cup secured, the Blaugrana now know that they will face Málaga twice in the span of a week, with a third game the following week. “Playing against the same team three times can be uncomfortable, but each match is different,” said Roura. The first of the three matches, away at La Rosaleda, is scheduled for this Sunday.

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