Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola expects an in-form Valencia to give his side a stern test in Wednesday’s La Liga clash at Mestalla.
Valencia are currently at the summit of the league table, with a perfect nine points from three games.
Barcelona’s spirits are high after Saturday’s 8-0 demolition of Osasuna, but Guardiola noted that Unai Emery’s men pose an entirely different challenge.
“Valencia are the league leaders right now and they are looking really strong,” Guardiola told reporters.
“We are going to a tough ground and their fans will be right behind them.”
“They also have a great coach who has shown he is capable of taking a team who have lost players like David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata and making them into a very competitive side, as they are showing at the start of this campaign.”
With Gerard Pique left out of the squad, Barcelona will once again have to field a weakened defence.
Questioned about his tactics, Guardiola said: “The most important thing is not whether we play with three or four at the back, but rather about finding a balance that allows us to play our attacking game and keep possession and our position on the pitch.”
“Against Osasuna we played Alves further forward and it worked okay, but we are more used to playing with a four-man defence.”
“Playing with three at the back at the Mestalla might be a bit risky. No system is infallible – we will make our decision tomorrow.”