The last time Valencia visited the Camp Nou to face Barcelona, they suffered a 7-0 defeat in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal, with the Blaugranes delivering maybe their best performance all season.
Things were different in that February night: Barça were in the middle of what became a history-making streak of 39 straight games without a loss, and the team was at the peak of its powers. Valencia were in a desperate situation, still coached by Gary Neville, a complete disaster in his first managerial assignment. Now, Barça are out of the Champions League, the biggest stars are in poor form, and the La Liga trophy could be lost if the form continues to decline.
On the other hand, Valencia fired Neville, and even if they aren't that better off without the Englishman, they at least feel a little more confident. New coach Pako Ayestarán is still in the beginning of his stint as manager, and he has plenty of work to do. Facing Barça is never pleasant regardless of the Catalans' current form, and Ayestarán is not expecting a fun night at Camp Nou.
"Against Barcelona you're either ready to suffer and show your competitive spirit or you have no options, because Barça will have the ball more than us. We'll do our best to have some of the ball as well, but we know we're not going to have it most of the time and we need to be prepared to manage the game well."
Pako Ayestarán, source: Diario Sport
While the 7-0 happened more than two months ago, it still is fresh in everyone's minds. But according to Pako, that result will have no effect in what will happen Sunday.
"The 7-0 is part of the past, because that game took place under different circumstances for both teams. It does not have any effect on us."
And even though he is ready to suffer, Ayerastán claims he and his players are not afraid of the game or the opponent, and they are confident in a positive result at Camp Nou.
"I have never been afraid of a match in any moment, you only fear what you are not prepared to deal with. I see the team in good spirits, focused and looking to improve every day."