FC Barcelona will be looking to bounce back from their elimination from the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, this weekend when they host Valencia CF.
Having lost the second leg to Atletico Madrid, who back on Wednesday won 2-0 at the Estadio Vicente Calderon to send Atleti to the semi-finals, Barcelona will be looking to maintain their hopes of achieving a league and cup double.
While many people have said that this is a step down from their treble dreams, it would still be a successful season if they can achieve that outcome. With six more games left in the league, they begin that campaign for a double on Sunday against Valencia.
Back to normal
Manager Luis Enrique will have to begin the task of getting his players refocused for the home stretch of matches, and to put away what happened just three days ago in Madrid.
With a one point gap to second-placed Real Madrid and three points separating Barca and third-placed Atleti, the Blaugrana are in a must win situation to get three points against a Valencia side who has had a rollercoaster ride of a season.
“We have to lift ourselves up and focus on what we have ahead of us. And that means two very attractive competitions that we are still involved in.”, stated the manager in his press conference.
When looking at form, two wins and two losses, as well as a single draw for FC Barcelona in their last five games - they have not won since cruising to a 6–0 trashing over Getafe at Camp Nou on March 12th. A win over Valencia could bring back more motivation.
Looking to surprise
Valencia on the other hand, are looking to make this La Liga race tighter than it ever has been before and that is to get a good result against the defending Spanish league champions.
Head coach Pako Ayestaran spoke to the press on Saturday and stated that they want to surprise Barca. ''We must grow from what we are today, and forget about what has gone before. Against FC Barcelona you have to be able to withstand them and have a strong team spirit, otherwise you don’t have a chance.'', said the third boss of Valencia this season.
In the first meeting this season between the two sides, they played to a 1–1 stalemate at the Mestalla on December 5th when Santi Mina notched a late goal to deny Barca the win.
Barcelona possible XI: Bravo; Vidal, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Roberto, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Valencia possible XI: Alves; Barragan, Mustafi, Abdennour, Siqueira; Parejo, Fuego, Gomes; Feghouli, Alcacer, Mina