Marcelinho Huertas (Sao Paulo, 1983) will feature in his second Final Four of his career of Friday. The Brazilian is eagerly awaiting to play in the final stage of the competition and, despite missing key team-mates due to injury, he’s confident that Barça Regal can defeat Real Madrid in the semi-final Friday (21.00, Esport3). The following is an interview Marcelinho gave during the Open Media Day on Tuesday:

You’ve been waiting for this moment all season. What are your sensations ahead of the match?

They are very good, positive, even though we have a lot of injured players. We know we aren’t at our best level physically, but we’re convinced that we can make a great Final Four run.

How motivated are the players?

It’s a Clásico. That says it all and we’re very motivated because you never want to lose a Clásico. We’ll give it our all to win. Even though we’re missing players, we’re capable of defeating Madrid.

Are Real Madrid favourites?

We don’t care if they are. We were favoured last year in Istanbul against Olympiacos and we lost. When it comes to games like this being the favourite means nothing.

There are many Barça Regal players who are injured. Are you aware that all of you have to take a step forward in order to get to the final?

You spend your life waiting for important matches like this one and no one needs to tell us we have to step up. Our Euroleague run has been so brilliant that we can’t give up on getting to the final because we’re missing players. Each one of us is responsible and aware of what is at stake for the Club. It’s a great challenge.

Rudy, Carroll, Llull... How do you stop exterior players like them?

We can’t allow Madrid to play a comfortable match. We should stop them from running freely, from feeling comfortable, we can’t give Carroll and Rudy easy shooting options. We need to reduce their conversion rates. We’ve trained a lot and we have to have the right mentality ... we know it’s going to be hard and we’re ready to fight until the end.

On the inside they also have great players like Mitotic and Slaughter

They can hurt you on the transition, they are very fast. We can’t only focus on their exterior players, they [Mirotic and Slaughter] can work the court. We need to limit their open shots. Play a game that will force them to work hard, they should have a  Barça Regal hand in front of them every time they try to shoot.

On a personal level, how are you feeling?

I’m pleased with how I’ve been playing. All of the players have improved over the season and I’m sure that we’ll play a good match. I hope we have a good day on Friday.

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