Real Sociedad coach Eusebio Sacristán looked ahead to tomorrow's visit from the side he represented as a player - Barcelona. The Catalans have struggled in recent years at Anoeta but the Basques have three first choice defenders unavailable - the club confirmed that Iñigo Martínez has suffered a tear to his right calf muscle this morning, while Yuri, completing a cycle of five bookings, and Markel, sent off last week at Sevilla, are both serving a one-match ban.
Untimely loss of Iñigo Martínez: "Iñigo's a very important player for us - a player who has always performed to a very high level. He’s a reference in his position and also for the whole back four. So his absence is an important loss for us. It’s a shame we can’t count on him but we have other, experienced players who are more than capable of deputising. The fact that we have replacements for every position in the side makes us feel a little easier about the situation".
Barça, the team which exploits its virtues better than anyone: "We wil justl be trying to exploit our own virtues. Bearing in mind the side we are up against, we need to neutralize their strong points – and they have a lot of strong points. For me, Barça are the best side in the two most important facets of the game – in attack and in defence. They are the most balanced side and the ones who gets the best out of their resources. So we have to be at our best to compete against them. Whenever La Real have played to the best of our abilities, we've been able to beat some of the toughest sides in LaLiga. And we should be trying to make that our calling card, every weekend, whoever we meet. Tomorrow’s game is a huge test for us, and it will be a challenge for us to see if we can maintain the kind of form we showed at Sevilla last week".
Youth team player Igor Zubeldia, in the list: "Zubeldia has had the chance to help us out during the whole of the season - he's been training with us and he helps us out a lot in the day to day and we've been pleased by the level he has shown. We had the opportunity to count on him and he's a young lad who brings security to the side. He's close to being incorporated into the senior squad and I feel a lot happier having him on the bench for us tomorrow".
Apart from being without Iñigo who suffered a tear to his right calf last week at the Sánchez Pizjuán, Eusebio is also without first-choice left-back Yuri Berchiche and midfielder Markel Bergara who are both serving suspensions while injury has ruled out second choice keeper Oier Olazabal, right-back Carlos Martínez and forward Imanol Agirretxe as well as long-term casualties Sergio Canales and Raúl Navas.
The Real Sociedad squad list: Rulli, Mikel, Illarra, Bruma Granero, Prieto, Vela, Pardo, Zuru, Zaldua, Héctor Jonathas, Reyes, De la bella, Oyarzabal, Zubeldia, Aritz Elustondo and Bardaji.