Osasuna coach Jagoba Arrasate has made no secret of his team's poor state of mind after being knocked out of the Conference League by Brugge on Thursday and seeing the European dream go up in smoke at the first hurdle. In addition to their low morale, the Pamplona outfit also suffered a lot of wear and tear, from which they have barely recovered since Thursday. And all this with FC Barcelona coming to El Sadar on Sunday.
Arrasate led Saturday afternoon's training session and in the press conference beforehand explained that he has several players with physical problems. Important players such as Rubén Peña, Juan Cruz and the international David García are out injured and their presence in the starting eleven is a question mark.
The coach will have to make use of less regular starting players, such as Unai García, Arnaiz or Kike Barja, to freshen up the team. Arrasate will assess the condition of his players a few hours before kick-off to decide on his line-up.
The coach admitted that it was "a hard blow" to lose against Brugge because they had "a lot of hope to play in the group stage". His positive reading was that "we have shown that we are capable of competing on important stages and that has to be a learning experience for the games to come".
Arrasate assessed FC Barcelona and pointed out that "they are the reigning champions. We know the potential they have, they have signed good, young players. We have to defend very well and hurt them. Everything depends on that version of ourselves, knowing that it's difficult to contain all the arguments they have in attack". His conclusion was that "we have to be close to perfection" to try to achieve victory.
He couldn't say anything about the line-up. "We're going to need energy and freshness. From there, we're going to try to get the eleven and the game plan right".
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