Barcelona coach Pep
Guardiola has called Wednesday's King's Cup semi-final second
leg against Valencia "a game for men" while revealing little
about the state of his injured players.
The world and European champions have suffered a string of
injuries which have contributed to their slight dip in form over
Carles Puyol's away goal in the 1-1 draw from the first leg
last week gives Barca a slight edge against a team who have
always made life tough for them.
"We play 11 against 11, there will be seven substitutes on
the bench, and we are doing well," Guardiola told a news
conference on Tuesday when asked about his possible team
"It will be a game for men, it will be very demanding, and
we'll need everyone to be at 100 percent."
Spanish internationals Andres Iniesta and Pedro returned to
training with the rest of the squad after injury on Monday,
although they took part in only part of the session.
Playmaker Xavi was surprisingly rested for their last two
matches, including the first leg last week, while Chile forward
Alexis Sanchez has been struggling with a shoulder problem.
Midfielder Sergio Busquets needed stitches in a gashed knee
after Saturday's 2-1 league win over Real Sociedad while Ibrahim
Afellay and David Villa are long-term injury victims.
"The most doubtful of the players is Busquets," Guardiola
added. "Xavi is fine and Alexis is OK although he is still
suffering a little.
"They have trained pretty well, we'll see how they are
Valencia coach Unai Emery, asked about Barca's cagey
handling of injury news recently, replied: "It's a good strategy
not to let on anything to your rival. If we knew, would it be an
Barcelona are seeking their third final appearance in four
years, and a possible 14th title since Guardiola took the helm
"If we don't make it, we remain alive in two competitions,"
Guardiola said. "We have a chance to play our fourth final this
season and the players are aware of that.
"The quarters and semis have been very tough but we have
responded in an extraordinary way."
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