An Eric Abidal own goal and a Pablo Hernandez strike twice gave Los Che the lead at the Mestalla back in September, only for Pedro and Cesc Fabregas to restore parity for La Blaugrana as the game finished 2-2. Earlier this month, the Mestalla witnessed another draw in the Copa del Rey semi-final, Carles Puyol cancelling out Jonas’ opener. Goals from Fabregas and Xavi Hernandez gave Barca a 2-0 win in the return.
“We must change our game. We have played three times this season against Barcelona with three good performances, two draws and a defeat,” Emery told a Press conference ahead of tomorrow’s clash. “We need to do better, we have to adjust some details of our game and believe that we can win. Are we talking about difficult opponent? Yes. Can we win? Yes. Have we succeeded so far? No.”
“It will be difficult to beat Barcelona, but we can do it. In the last match against them, they made some mistakes, but we have to minimise our errors. In attack, we have hurt them, we have had success but we must also be more consistent to be able to beat them,” he added.
Valencia travel to Camp Nou following their bruising Europa League win at Stoke City on Thursday. Emery has included Jeremy Mathieu in his 21-man squad and hinted that the Frenchman could feature if Jordi Alba fails to recover from a bout of flu. The coach downplayed the absence of Dani Alves and Javier Mascherano from Barca’s line-up, but admitted that the possibility of closing the gap on Pep Guardiola’s men provided his team with additional motivation.
“They will be no different from the last line-up I saw them put out. Our preparations are aimed at winning. Our mentality is that we want to be ambitious and the reality is that if we win it would shift our position from being eight points behind Barcelona to five,” Emery added. “Tomorrow is our chance and we must take it.”