‘We are up against it’: Valverde to recall big guns for Levante second leg

Ernesto Valverde admits Barcelona are “up against it” ahead of the second leg of the Copa del Rey last-16 clash with Levante.

Barca go into the home leg needing a victory after they fell to a shock 2-1 defeat in Valencia last week.

Valverde rested the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in the first leg but the big guns are poised to return at the Nou Camp as Barca bid to continue their defence of the title.

Nevertheless, Valverde is only too aware of the threat posed by the visitors.

“At the end of the day each team knows what to do in decisive moments,” he said at his pre-match press conference.

“They have picked up lots of points away from home, they are going to counter-attack, they get players forward quickly and they score a lot of goals because they have got quality players.

“At times these games can be a bit out of control, a bit to and fro. We will try to be organised. They will try to take advantage of their strength, they will try and surprise us.

Barcelona forward Philippe Coutinho, centre, got his side back into the tie with a late penalty in the first leg
Barcelona forward Philippe Coutinho, centre, got his side back into the tie with a late penalty in the first leg (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)

“It’s a decisive match, a team will be going out of the competition. We want to get through to the quarter-finals.

“We hope it’s going to be a good atmosphere in the ground and the fans get behind us. We are always stronger with our fans behind us.

“After the first game there hasn’t been a result yet. We have to be the best we can to get through.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde admits his side face a tough challenge in the second leg
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde admits his side face a tough challenge in the second leg (Nick Potts/PA)

“It is a tie in which we have to come from behind, we are up against it.”

Before the clash Levante announced they have agreed to the transfer of striker Armando Sadiku to Swiss club FC Lugano.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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