It was Cesc Fabregas’s turn to face the press after the training session on Thursday in Sant Joan Despí. Unsurprisingly, the player was profusely asked about the last clásico. Here are some of his responses. The rest can be found here.
Fabregas insisted that the team has emerged a stronger side after the difficult tie and he didn’t want to comment on what Madrid players and their press are saying. “We do not have opinions about what happens in Madrid,” he said. “We are delighted after getting through as eliminating Madrid is is always complicated. We have done it, so we are very strengthened after this tie. ”
To the surprise of the media gathered in Sant Joan Despí, Cesc was honest about the difficulties that Barça had to overcome to get through to the last four of Copa del Rey. “It would be strange if we had not have to suffer against Madrid,” he said. “They have been historically our toughest opponent. Since last season there have been ten classics, and all of them have been complicated. But this was a 180 minutes tie, as we also had the match in the Bernabeu,” highlighting that it is never easy to win at Madrid.
Asked about Barça’s style of play and the difficulties the team had to play the ball from the back of the field in the last minutes of the game, Cesc was true to the style that Pep Guardiola emphasizes on. “If we’d lose, we would do it being truthful to our style,” he said. “We are where we wanted to be, Copa del Rey semi-final, still competing in Champions League and second in La Liga, where we are still fighting.”
On other topics, Cesc did not hesitate on praising his team mates for their work in recent years. Said Cesc, “We continue to win thanks to the regularity of these players … Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol, Messi, Valdés, we are a very tight team, and I get to learn from them every day. They make us a strong and a confident group.”
In addition, Fàbregas showed appreciation for the fans who supported the team against Madrid. “We want the best for all culés, who are literally taking us by the air in some games, like yesterday. They were behind us when Madrid scored the equalizer, so we owe them everything.”
Cesc didn’t have any problems to praise the eternal rival. “I think that Madrid has a squad to compete for any title out there, just like they did yesterday, they fought until the end. They are also candidates to win the Champions League. They have a great team, and they demonstrated it clearly yesterday, they played a very good game.”
Cesc was also asked to comment on his role in the team, and he showed a remarkable trait of self-criticism. “Not because I scored some goals I have to score every time. I am aware that I have to improve a lot, I am still learning. This ‘softtware’ that Pep created is not easy to catch in two days, but I will keep working to improve.”
He then reviewed his position on the field, making a difference between his position as interior midfielder and that “as false 9″ that was so common some games ago. “To play in midfield I need a bit more discipline … At Arsenal I was used to playing more upfront so I still have that anxiety to go forward fast and pass the ball on to Leo Messi for him to finish the play as soon as possible. I am the first to acknowledge that it was not my best game yesterday, so I am really looking forward to the next game.”
Regarding the recent injuries suffered by Andrés Iniesta and Alexis Sánchez, Cesc mentioned that he believes in the “cantera” to step up. “If the few players left have to play 90 minutes for 5 games in a row, we will. If the coach decides another thing, we will too. We will cope with this”, he finished, sending a message of calm to all culés.