Jordi Roura has spiced up the week’s first Clasico by complaining that Barcelona ‘don’t do well’ when the assigned referee for Tuesday’s game is in charge.
Barca host Real Madrid this midweek in the second leg of their Copa del Rey clash, with Alberto Undiano in charge of officiating.
This was the referee who oversaw the 2011 Copa del Rey Final between the two clubs and who Roura said today, Barcelona do not do well under.
“The referee is who he is and we do are not going assess the officials and whether they are good or bad,” began the assistant Coach in his pre-match Press conference.
“But there is evidence that our numbers with him are worse than they are with others, much lower. One fact is that the only League game we have lost is with this referee, and we have in memory the permissiveness that was the Copa del Rey Final. It is a statistical issue.
“That said, we must wish him all the luck in the world and we certainly hope that his decisions do not mark the end of the game.
“What I have said is pure statistics, the whole world can see, I do not do reviews nor do I want to go into more detail. We know that these types of games are intense and much harder, but the limit should be there, in the lines of sportsmanship.
“I insist that we do not care about the referee, hopefully he will go unnoticed.
“What concerns us is Madrid. You never know what to expect with Madrid, but they have to score and will attack us. We expect so.
“It will be a complicated game, but the team is very focused. I’ve always found them difficult. They have a stratospheric budget and their players are of a global status.”
The assistant to Tito Vilanova then reflected on the importance of having the second leg at home.
“When playing in the knockout stages, home advantage is important. We are fortunate to play the second leg of Cup semi-final and the Champions League Last 16 at home and in the end this is also the result of good work done so far, as we have not had it easy in either competition.
“Every game we win will strengthen us. The key match was Sevilla at the weekend, which was the one after the Milan defeat. The team reacted well and had to work hard, that was the first part of tackling the second leg.”
Roura was asked of the debate surrounding Lionel Messi, and whether he is as fresh at this stage of the season as in previous years.
“The Coaches work very hard, but the most authoritative voice to talk about it is Messi’s. He likes to always be playing and I do not think he is more tired than in other seasons at this point.
“He is very competitive and is excited to play the game. Also in training he gives everything.”