Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova acknowledges his side face a tough challenge when they travel to face Valencia in La Liga.
Reigning champions Barca defeated Valencia 2-1 in the first meeting between the two sides at the Camp Nou in October.
They won 3-0 at home in the 2009/10 season, but could only draw 0-0 away at Valencia’s Estadio Mestalla.
And Vilanova knows to expect another battle when Barca hit the road to face the league’s third-placed team.
“We think that it will be a game like the previous two against Valencia, who are a good team and never make things easy,” Vilanova said.
“Unai Emery is a very good manager, and the team always play well. Their play down the wings is dangerous, if they can overcome our pressure. On the counter they are dangerous … They are a fast team and make things difficult. They have some clever players as well.”
While the Mestalla has been credited with playing a role in Valencia’s strong performances at home, Vilanova believes their record has more to do with the quality of the team.
“It isn’t hard to play at the ground, rather that the team are hard to play against,” he said.
“We have beaten them at home, but not there yet. We were able to draw with them the first year that we played, and they had more chances the second year than we did. They do a lot well and they pressurise well, bring the ball out well and have a good strategy.”
“They are good in defence and it will be a hard game. What can we do? Well, if we are at our best, and they aren’t, then it is possible to win.”