| Lionel Messi |
Barcelona: FC Barcelona need to be more efficient in front of goal and iron out defensive lapses if they are to beat Real Madrid in the King’s Cup semi-final, assistant coach Jordi Roura and midfielder Cesc Fabregas said on Monday.
Holders Barca have a slight advantage for Tuesday’s semi-final second leg at the Nou Camp after securing a 1-1 draw at Real’s the Bernabeu in last month’s first leg.
However, they showed a lack of ideas in attack in losing 0-2 to an ultra-defensive AC Milan in last week’s Champions League last 16 first leg, and again appeared vulnerable at the back in coming from a goal down to secure a 2-1 La Liga win at home to Sevilla on Saturday.
It was the 11th match in a row in all competitions in which the runaway La Liga leaders failed to keep a clean sheet.
“We have seen that some of the goals have been conceded through our own fault and we will try to correct that,” Roura, standing in for Tito Vilanova who is recovering from throat surgery, said.
With Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo firing on all cylinders, a tight defence is particularly important for Barca, who play at the Bernabeu in La Liga on Saturday.
Before the first leg, the Portuguese had scored at least once in his last six “clasicos” and headed the goal that gave Real a 1-0 victory over their arch-rivals in the 2011 Cup final.
Fabregas, who netted Barca’s goal in the first leg before Raphael Varane grabbed a late equaliser, said he and his teammates will need to be as ruthless as Real in taking their chances.
“We have to be as effective as possible in the return game because they are,” said Fabregas.
“We have to be in good form in front of goal if we want to get through,” added the former Arsenal captain.
“It’s crucial to score and not to sit back and wait and see what happens.
“Madrid are very dangerous and to qualify for the final we have to play the best football we are capable of,” said Fabregas.
Meanwhile, coach Jose Mourinho Real said should have midfielder Xabi Alonso and forward Karim Benzema back from minor injuries.
The pair missed Saturday’s 2-1 comeback La Liga victory at Deportivo la Coruna, when Mourinho initially left top scorer Ronaldo on the bench but brought him on in the second half to set up Gonzalo Higuain's late winner.
Asked if Spain international Alonso would be fit for the “Clasico”, a typically brusque Mourinho told a news conference:“I think so”.