Cesc Fabregas hits back at Messi criticism

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Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas has responded to criticism of teammate Lionel Messi from the Real Madrid camp ahead of tonight's decisive Copa del Rey semi-final second-leg.

The former-Arsenal captain insisted Messi was mentally tough enough to shrug off comments from Madrid winger Jose Callejon. 

The Real Madrid player had claimed he witnessed Messi insult Madrid assistant manager Aitor Karanka after the 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Fabregas told Barcelona's official site: "We are not the type of team that likes to complain to the press. There are things that have to be said, but we will do our talking on the pitch.

"Leo is the best when it comes to this," he added. "He is very strong mentally and physically. What he wants to do is play, enjoy the game and win."

Fabregas also urged his side to be more efficient in front of goal in tonight's Clasico at the Nou Camp.

The midfielder bemoaned Barca's missed opportunities during the first leg, in which Raphael Varane's late header cancelled out Fabregas' opener, and has called on his side to take their chances.

He said: "We had our chances to make it 0-2 in Madrid. In the return leg we have to be as effective as possible, because they are very effective. We have to be on target in front of goal if we want to get to the final."

Fabregas made reference to last year's Copa quarter-final against Real, where Barcelona won 2-1 in Madrid, but only scraped through after a 2-2 home draw.

He said: "It's vital to score, we cannot go into the match and wait to see what happens. Last year, we had a good result from the away leg, but we were nearly eliminated from the competition."

He added: "Madrid are very dangerous and in order to go through we will have to play the best football we are capable of."

European News
Francesc Fabregas
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