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Anoeta has not been a happy hunting ground for FC Barcelona in recent years. In fact, they have now gone for seven league games in a row at the home of Real Sociedad without a win.

Last season’s 1-1 draw brought an end to a run of four consecutive league defeats in San Sebastian – an unusually negative record for the normally all-conquering blaugrana.

“It’s a challenge for us” admitted manager Ernesto Valverde at his pre-game conference. “It’s one of the hardest grounds we could have had to visit to complete the first half of the league programme, and we are aware of our history there.”

Home manager Eusebio Sacristán “knows this club from his time here and that means he also knows how to hurt us. We’ll need to position ourselves well at Anoeta. It’s a fast ground and Real will make things difficult for us.”

“Even though they haven’t been getting very good results of late, they have the capacity to play combination football, which they mix with deep, intense pressure.”

Mina has ‘character’

Naturally enough, the first team boss was also quizzed about new Colombian arrival Yerry Mina.

“He seems to be man with a lot of character. He’s not shy. He makes his presence felt and is a daring, attack-minded kind of player. He’s spectacular in the air and that’s going to help us a lot”

“I have had a chance to speak with him, and I told him I want him to be competitive, to blend as quickly as possible into the way the team plays, and also into a new league, where football is played at a different pace. But we are all here to help him with that.”

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