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Xavi Pascual during today's press conference / PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB

“Thurday is a key day for us and we need a full Palau, [supporters] need to help us and carry us through complicated parts of the match.” That’s how clear Xavi Pascual was in today’s pre-match press conference ahead of the second match quarter-final Euroleague against Unics Kazan. After yesterday’s victory, the manager is wary of how the Tatar team will react: “we have a new final in which the support from the fans is a basic need. It will be a tough, hard, and beautiful game. It’ll be pure basketball. We need to show our best version to win against a rival that will take its chances.”

Tough opponent

The Tatar team lived up to Pascual’s expectations in the first match of the series. “It’s very difficult to break a match against a team like Unics. They are an atypical team, because they never change their style of play. They’re comfortable being behind in a match. It’s impossible to to knock them off their game,” he explained. Pascual is clear: “they are an incredibly tough team and they have always made it difficult for us in every game we’ve played against them.” He added: “in the first game we did almost everything perfectly, we’re playing against a team that have extraordinary talent.”

Making the home-court advantage count

Pascual thanked the fans for coming to the Palau yesterday to cheer the team on,  called on the fans to “make the Palau fit for a big occasion” on Thursday. The manager considers tomorrow’s  game a season-defining match. According to him, “a 2-0 isn’t decisive, but we are giving validity to our entire season. We were first in our group and in the Top 16 and it will all be worth it if we win tomorrow.” At the same time, he hopes that the little allotted time given to his players to recover won’t be a factor. “All the matches are difficult to prepare for and this one, with less time and against a quality team, it’s even harder. A lot of work has been done, however,” he said.

Messi and Jordan

Pascual answered a question on whether Leo Messi is the Michael Jordan of football: “the comparison is reasonable. Both of them are the all-time best in their sports. I didn’t get the chance to train them, but if Pep says so, he’s in a better position to confirm it.”

Sada: "They need to know that the Palau is a unique place"

Along the same lines as his manager, Víctor Sada also called on the fans to fill the Palau for the match against Unics: “they are a side with a lot of experience, but we hope that the fans at the Palau make their presence known. They need to know that the Palau is a unique place.” The player believes that it’s key to win the second match, “we need to be aggressive and got for the win.” At the same time, Sada thinks that fatigue could be a factor in tomorrow’s game: “the physical drain on the players is notable, we’ve arrived at this point, but it needs to be put to one side. The most important thing is the psychological aspect.”


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