The big day is coming for Barça Alusport. On Friday they face Sporting Lisbon of Portugal in the semi final of the UEFA Futsal Cup. “We have been speaking about this week all season. Now it’s here and we obviously can’t wait for Friday” said Barça Alusport manager Marc Carmona at the Open Media Day on Tuesday at the Palau Blaugrana. He was particularly pleased that only having one game in the last fortnight has given them plenty of time to prepare for the biggest occasion in FCB’s futsal history.

Favourite tag means nothing

Carmona added that “the other three managers all think we’re the favourites. We’re taking that on board naturally because we’re playing at home, and also because I think we have a good squad and a good team. But being favourites means nothing until you start playing … Playing at home does give us an advantage as long as we handle things right”.

“We know that the tickets sold out quite easily and we know that there will be a wonderful atmosphere. I hope we can turn that to our advantage. I am sure that even in the most difficult moments we’ll feel like we’re at home”.

Sporting experience

This is the first time Barça Alusport have played in the Final Four of the UEFA Futsal Cup, unlike their opponents. “Portugal has a great school. Both Sporting and Benfica have more experience than we do of European matches, both at club and international level. Sporting understand the concepts of futsal, and have two players that have played in the Spanish league (Joao Benedito and Leitao). I expect a difficult opponent, and in theory a tight match”.

Aware of difficulty

But he is aware of the huge task ahead of them. “We have all filled our mouths with the idea that the Spanish league is the strongest in Europe, but even the best El Pozo in history, who did so much in their time, played three times in the UEFA Futsal Cup without ever winning it. Twice they didn’t even get to the final. It’s not easy in Europe”.

Sedano ruing pressure

Goalkeeper Paco Sedano is also confident that the favourites tag won’t hurt his side. “Of course there is pressure because it’s an important title for the team and for the club. But the pressure to win the European Cup is a nice kind of pressure. We have to live with it. We’ve gained experience of finals over the last two years and we have learned to soak up the pressure”.

“We have to relax and enjoy it”, added Fernandao, who knows that “winning this competition was one of the objectives this season.” Jordi Torras spoke along similar lines, commenting that “futsal is a game that doesn’t attract much media attention and the fact that there are so many of you here today shows that something is going right. First, we won the league last year. And now we’re faced with a unique competition. There’s more than enough in the way of motivation”.

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