Real Betis coach Pepe Mel has revealed he wants to see Leo Messi in Barcelona's starting line up when the Catalans come to the Benito Villamarín on Sunday, and insisted his players are excited about facing the Argentine.
"I would prefer it if Messi played, the lads are delighted that his injury was not serious," said Mel in his pre-match press conference.
"You always want the best players to play, players such as Messi, Iniesta and Benzema, this is a sport, but it's also a spectacle and the fans want to see Messi.
"I'm not stupid, it's obvious that if Messi, who's scored 90 goals in a calendar year (sic), doesn't play, Barça are weaker, but this is a spectacle and Messi is the best player in the world. But Barça have not got to where they are now just because they have Messi."
Facing Barcelona: "Beating Real Madrid is just as hard as beating Barcelona. We have always faced Barcelona head on, it's the best way of approaching a game with them, if we did anything else we would be betraying ourselves. If we beat Barça our objective [to stay up] won't change, we'll just be three points closer to achieving it. Perhaps if we achieve safety by February or March our objectives will change."
His team for the game "I just have one problem of having two players in one position. I have to decide if I start Juankar or bring him on as a sub. We'll have to consult the doctors then decide. The rest of the team has been decided, but Chechu has a light injury, which could be a problem. I can't make any changes to my centre-backs because I don't have any more. Mario, Perquis and Paulao have all been given the medical all-clear but they are not available for the game."