Ernesto Valverde: Busy schedule has Barcelona at disadvantage

Ernesto Valverde: Busy schedule has Barcelona at disadvantage
From ESPN - January 13, 2018

BARCELONA -- Ernesto Valverde wants Barcelona to overcome the disadvantage of having played on Thursday to win at Real Sociedad in La Liga for the first time since 2007.

Barca beat Celta Vigo 5-0 in midweek to progress to the Copa del Rey quarterfinals, where they will play local rivals Espanyol over two legs this month.

Meanwhile, La Real, who were knocked out of the cup in an earlier round, had a free week to prepare for the visit of the league leaders.

It makes an already difficult task even more difficult, with Barca having failed to win in each of their last seven visits to Anoeta in the league, losing five of them.

"Not playing in midweek is an advantage for La Real," Valverde said in a news conference on Saturday. "It's the same story with our game against [Real] Betis, who we play in the league next weekend after our midweek game [against Espanyol in the cup].

"We never like these situations where there are short rests and games coming thick and fast. We would like more time. But of course, you prefer to be in the Copa del Rey than out of it."

Barca are nine points clear at the top of La Liga and 28 games unbeaten in all competitions, dating back to August's Super Cup loss to Real Madrid, but their recent record in San Sebastian is not as impressive.

They did manage to win there in the Copa del Rey last season, but it's been more than a decade since they left with three points from a league game.

"That's not something we have talked about too much but we know what's gone on in past matches there," Valverde added.


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