Video: Barcelona’s Copa del Rey tie still open, says Mascherano

Javier Mascherano believes Barcelona still have a lot of work to do if they want to beat Valenica and reach the Copa del Rey final

Javier Mascherano has warned Barcelona that they have a lot of work to do if they are to book their place in the Copa del Rey final.

The 27-year-old admits that the Spanish champions, who host Valencia in the return leg of their semi-final on Wednesday, were clear favourites to win the competition after their victory over holders Real Madrid – but Pep Guardiola’s side could only draw 1-1 at the Mestalla in the first leg.

“Everybody saw us as favourites after the 2-1 win at the Bernabeu due to everything that happened there and all the talking afterwards,” said Mascherano.

“But now we’ve only managed to draw with Valencia and you can see the predictions in the press are a lot more cautious, the game is still open.”

The former Liverpool midfielder believes Lionel Messi may need to be rested in order to stay fit until the end of a long season.

“I hadn’t seen Lionel Messi off the pitch many times but obviously he always wants to play, he’s one of those players who is better off playing than training.

“Everybody is different, many players need a break after a run of games, maybe resting and training. But he needs his matches to get himself in better physical condition and keep himself in good shape.”

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