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Iniesta reflects on Clásico defeat: "Something is missing"

Speaking to the press, Barcelona player Andrés Iniesta looked back at his side's Copa del Rey elimination at the hands of Real Madrid, and admitted: "Tito Vilanova's absence is affecting us."

Iniesta reflects on Clásico defeat: "Something is missing"

Barcelona star Andrés Iniesta spoke to the press on Wednesday and reflected on his side's Copa del Rey semi-final defeat to Real Madrid. The Spain international also discussed the absence of Camp Nou coach Tito Vilanova, and looked ahead to part two of the double-header with Madrid, as well as the Champions League last-16 second leg against Milan.

Reasons for defeat: "It isn't that we're not capable. You try your best and for whatever reason your opponent gets the better of you. In these two particular games [against Milan and Madrid] our rival has got the better of us. We were missing something...when a team doesn't work it's down to all of us to put it right, from back to front and front to back. Teams play differently and we have to adapt to that."

Fatigue: "We're all in good physical shape. Every season is tough and it's difficult to maintain a high level. I don't think this season is different to any other. We know how difficult it is at this stage of the year, but we keep going. On Saturday we have our next game, and the week after we have another."

Goal-shy Barcelona: "It's clear that we have to score goals. We've scored lots of goals, in particular Leo [Messi]. In these two key games we have lacked freshness and a cutting edge. We have to get back to being the compact, effective team that we were and create chances. We have lacked that in these two games. We have to get back to doing the basics well because that's what has made us the team we are."

Messi's poor performance: "It's a team game, it's not about if he is playing well or not."

Elimination from the Copa del Rey: "We have to look at it with some perspective. Let's not forget that we're top of the league and we have a healthy points cushion. It hurts us all to lose a Copa del Rey semi-final to Real Madrid, but we knew it wouldn't be easy. It's not only about winning the treble and lapping up all the praise - when things don't go well we have to stick at it."

The referee and coach Jordi Roura's pre-match comments: "It's a difficult job. There's one match on the field and another off it. If we all let the referee get on with it things would be a lot easier. [But] the boss said what he did because it's what he believes.

Vilanova's absence: "I would be lying if I said it didn't have a negative effect on us - that's normal when your coach isn't there. They're difficult situations and the figure of the coach is important to a team. But we aren't going to ask Tito to come back just because we have lost these two games. His health is the priority and we trust the coaching staff that are here. We hope that when Tito comes back we still have our comfortable league lead and are still alive in the Champions League."

Turning round their Champions League tie with Milan: "The game on the 12th will be like a cup final and we'll have to come flying out of the traps as if our lives depended on it. I'm confident we'll knock Milan out."

The upcoming Clásico in La Liga: "It'll be a difficult game in which we have to protect our lead at the top of the league."

The Barça fans: "On the 12th they'll support us to the very end like they did on Tuesday. The team will also fight till the end and we'll see what happens."

Estadísticas AS.com