The 41-year-old tactician believes that Ever Banega will be instrumental for Valencia in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey return leg at the Camp Nou.
Ahead of their Copa del Rey second leg against Valencia, Barcelona manager, Pep Guardiola, reflected that he is eagerly anticipating the cup tie with Los Che and believes his team is prepared to take up the challenge of the Valencian club.
The Catalan manager praised Banega’s technical abilities and stated that he will be a crucial player for the Mestalla-based outfit. Continuing on the subject at hand, the former AS Roma player claimed that in order to win against Valencia, they will have
to shut out the Argentine playmaker, Ever Banega. He further added that his players are ready to test their wits against him.
"Banega is a fantastic player. We’ll have to be plugged into the game to render him ineffective," Guardiola said in a press conference ahead of the Copa del Rey fixture.
"If they are behind us, Banega won’t be as big of an issue. If we’re behind them, Banega will be key."
The Copa del Rey semi-final puts La Blaugrana in touching distance to their fourth trophy of the 2011/2012 season. Barcelona have already added Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup titles to their trophy cabinet.
Commenting on their extraordinary trophy haul, Guardiola reflected that they are still hungry for success and are determined to reach the domestic cup’s final.
"I know that we’ve won a lot of titles, but these players want to reach another final. The cup final is one of the most beautiful ones. For this reason, the match this Wednesday is key. It’s not every day that you qualify for a final."
Barcelona go into the fixture with a slight advantage after scoring the all-important away goal in the 1-1 draw at the Mestalla. The Catalan club have overcome the challenge of L’Hospitalet and Real Madrid en-route to the semi-final.
Despite their silverware success in the current campaign, the reigning Spanish Champions are finding it hard to retain their La Liga crown as they trail arch-rivals Real Madrid by seven points in the points table.