Barcelona Look To Land knock-out Blow On Real Madrid

Ernesto Valverde believes Barcelona can inflict a hefty blow to Real Madrid’s morale by winning a second Clasico in four days on Saturday.

Barca knocked Madrid out of the Copa del Rey with a 3-0 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday and will go 12 points clear of their opponents in La Liga if they can repeat the result this weekend.

“It is very difficult in two consecutive matches against the same team to get the same result,” Valverde said on Friday.

“We want to go for the win because it would be an important blow to their morale for the remaining matches. It would also take points off Madrid, who are a direct rival to us.

“We know it won’t be easy. The other day, despite the result, we saw the difficulty of playing there.

“But when one team wins, it is true that what they gain is confidence and the team that loses wants another match as soon as possible to make amends. That is how both teams are at this point.”

Madrid, with Vinicius Junior particularly dangerous down the left, created a handful of excellent chances on Wednesday before Barca scored three in the second half.

Asked if he had a special plan to contain Vinicius, Valverde said: “We have a special plan and that is that we have to do it together. He is unpredictable and the other day we had problems. We have to be wary of him, that is obvious.”

Vinicius’ form has made it harder for Gareth Bale to get in the team but Santiago Solari insisted on Friday that the Welshman is still a key player for Real Madrid.

Bale has been a substitute in seven of Madrid’s last nine games and his place in the side on Saturday is not guaranteed, after starting on the bench again in midweek.

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