Expect the unexpected, says Guardiola

Pep Guardiola believes anything is possible when Barcelona face arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday.The two sides will meet for the second time in five days at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia after they drew 1-1 in their La Liga match on Saturday.

However, it is the first time the two great rivals have met in the Copa del Rey for 21 years and with Real Madrid fighting hard to win their first trophy since 2008, Guardiola is tipping another riveting clash.

“I imagine that anything can happen in a final between two great teams, with great players,” Guardiola said.

“I hope that there is a fantastic atmosphere, with no trouble. I hope everyone cheers their team and respects their opposition – and that it is a very good final.”

“Thinking about what they did last time distracts from what they might do this time. We have spoken about what we need to improve on, how to get more of the play and how to create more chances. “

Barcelona and Real Madrid have met in the Copa final five times, with Barca winning on three of those occasions.

Madrid boss Jose Mourinho deployed extra players in midfield on Saturday to deprive Barcelona of the space needed to get their fluent passing game going, a tactic which worked to great effect even when Real were reduced to 10 men.

However, Guardiola said he was unlikely to change his own strategy, given how successful it has proven over the past few seasons.

“Maybe I would do things differently with another set of players, but with this group I only know this style of play,” he said.

“They will know what we want to do, and we will play until we get tired. We will try and do this in the final. We will try to be brave and try and win.”