BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde will not encourage striker Luis Suarez to play with any less aggression than usual in Thursday’s King’s Cup semi-final second leg against Valencia despite being one yellow card away from missing the final.
Suarez was suspended from last season’s Cup final win over Alaves after being sent off late on in the semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid and risks the same fate after picking up two bookings in four appearances in the competition.
The Uruguayan scored the only goal in last week’s first leg at the Nou Camp to give Barca a 1-0 advantage in the tie, and if they see out the game they will make history by becoming the first team to reach five consecutive Cup finals.
“We have talked about Luis’s character before, but the aggression he gives us in attack, in terms of finding space and goals, is very good for us even if it means he sometimes gets the odd card,” Valverde told a news conference on Wednesday.
“Right now, we’re about to play a semi-final and we’ll do everything we have to win it. Then we’ll start worrying about the future.”
Valencia have not reached the final for 10 years, with Ronald Koeman leading them to the trophy in 2008 after knocking Barca out in the last four.
“I don’t know if we deserve it or not but what I can assure you is that we want it,” Valencia coach Marcelino said.
“We are playing against the clear favourites for the competition and with an adverse result. The players are convinced they can do it and we’re going to give everything.
“We expect a long and complicated game but we’re going to make things very difficult for Barca.”
Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond