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Valdés expects Barça to deliver knockout blow

Goalkeeper Víctor Valdés tells UEFA.com he is "very confident" FC Barcelona will make their away-goal advantage count when they meet Arsenal FC in their quarter-final second leg.

Valdés expects Barça to deliver knockout blow
Valdés expects Barça to deliver knockout blow ©UEFA.com

In an exclusive interview with UEFA.com, FC Barcelona goalkeeper Víctor Valdés says the opening half of last week's UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg against Arsenal FC was possibly the best he has seen his side play. He is also "very confident" that, after a commanding performance in London, the holders will finish the job tonight at Camp Nou.

UEFA.com: Will Barcelona knock Arsenal out of the UEFA Champions League?

Víctor Valdés: I'm confident we will. Very confident, yes.

UEFA.com: What kind of match do you expect?

Valdés: Maybe a similar match to the one in London. We know we can play very good and attractive football at home. Champions League games are always unpredictable – often they are decided by small details – and I hope the small details are in our favour.

UEFA.com: What were your feelings after the first leg?

Valdés: A bit mixed, because we gave a very good display and perhaps the result didn't reflect the game or our performance properly. But to get a 2-2 draw away in the Champions League and take it back for the home leg is not a bad result. We have to decide the match in Camp Nou, and generally the feeling is good.

UEFA.com: For you as a Barcelona player, was that the best first half you have witnessed?

Valdés: Possibly – there have been many games with this team, since Josep Guardiola took over, when we've controlled the ball very well. And last week, I don't think Arsenal put pressure on our first creative phase, not in the way they should have pressed us. That gave us a small advantage and allowed us to create scoring opportunities.

UEFA.com: Barça had lots of possession and numerous chances at the opposite end of the pitch from your goal. Is it difficult to stay focused during such passages of play?

Valdés: Yes, but we are used to it from a young age at Barça. The majority of games follow a similar pattern and that makes it normal for us. The most important thing for a Barça goalkeeper, for any goalkeeper, is to stop shots – that's our job – but certainly, yes, sometimes there are few chances for the opposition and you have to concentrate very hard.

UEFA.com: Tell us about Arsenal's first goal, which seemed to slip under your body. 

Valdés: It was a strange one. It was a hard and fast shot, and maybe I didn't expect Walcott to hit it. But you have to get back up and concentrate on the rest of the match.

UEFA.com: Your opposite number Manuel Almunia kept Arsenal in the game in the first half.

Valdés: He is a very good goalkeeper and he has shown that quality throughout his time at Arsenal. I also played against him during his short spell in Catalonia [with CE Sabadell FC].

UEFA.com: The second leg against Arsenal could be the game of the season. Do you agree?

Valdés: Yes, we're playing to stay alive in the Champions League. Regardless of the first-leg score, it will be a difficult game because they are another team that like to have possession of the ball.

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