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Espanyol favourites to qualify now, says Valverde

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Espanyol v Barcelona - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde says Espanyol are favourites to qualify after their 1-0 win over Barcelona in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final tie.

A second-half goal from Oscar Melendo was enough for the hosts to end Barca’s long unbeaten run and Valverde admits it is not a good result for his side.

“I liked my team because they had a good attitude, the pitch was hard to combine everything,” he said.

”We tried to do what we know and there are things you have to accept, they defended and ran and we congratulate them.

”We await them at the Camp Nou. The favourite in a knockout is the team which is winning.

”It’s not a good result because we haven’t scored here, we know that if they score at the Camp Nou we will have to score three.”

Source | Marca

Barcelona beat Espanyol 5-0 at Camp Nou back in September in La Liga and a similar performance will be needed now if they are to progress in the competition.