Iniesta: Losing to Madrid a Real blow

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Having crashed out of the Copa del Rey after Real Madrid came out on top of in the latest instalment of 'El Clasico', Andres Iniesta has praised Barcelona's fiercest rivals.

The 28-year-old Spanish international, who was a stand-out performer for Barca on Tuesday, acknowledged the superiority of Jose Mourinho's side and believes Madrid deserve their place in the final.

Speaking in a press conference a day after the defeat, Iniesta said: "The team has come as far as it could. Madrid is a worthy finalist.

"We're feeling down after yesterday, of course. There's not much else to say. Saturday's another battle.

"Now we have to focus on what remains to be done, which I think is important enough. Our mentality is not going to change just because we were knocked out yesterday," said the Spaniard.

He added: "The team hasn't been on cue and united in two important games against top quality opponents. Not in defence or attack. When the team is playing well, then all of the cogs turn in unison."

Iniesta also warned his teammates that they have it all to do if they are to overturn the two-goal deficit against AC Milan in the Champions League knockout stages.

"When things don't turn out well it's because we're not doing things right. The reality is that the team is not doing what is required to win.

"I suppose that is the view we have to take until we face the crucial game against Milan. It's like a final and we have to come out as if our lives depend on it from the first minute. 

"I'd give anything to win the tie against Milan. It's a question of pride, need and reality.

"We need to score lots of goals and keep a clean sheet." 

Ahead of next week's decisive encounter, Lionel Messi missed training after the loss to Real due to fever, but should recover in time to face the Italian giants.


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