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Enrique labels Alaves a 'revelation'

Press Association logoPress Association 10/02/2017

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has labelled Alaves one of the "revelations" of La Liga ahead of Saturday's dress rehearsal for May's King's Cup final.

Alaves manager Mauricio Pellegrino led the Basque side to the King's Cup showpiece in midweek and masterminded their stunning 2-1 victory at the Nou Camp earlier in the campaign.

Alaves, promoted last summer, have had a respectable start to life in La Liga after a 10-year absence, currently sitting in 12th place, and Enrique was full of praise for Barca's opponents.

"They are playing very well, they have big numbers, a good position in the league, a newly-promoted team and a new coach," Enrique said on Friday.

"It has a lot of value and they are a very dangerous team. It is a circumstance that does not happen often, but I do not think it is important that we are Copa finalists in tomorrow's game.

"Alaves are one of the revelations of the league and that surprise at Camp Nou now is not so much.

"We have 16 games without tasting defeat. It will be complicated and difficult, especially in this state of form. There is no healthy rematch, we know it's a team that got us in the first match and can get us again."

Speculation over the venue for the King's Cup final has heightened after rumours suggested that the Bernabeu, home of Barca's El Clasico rivals Real Madrid, will be host of the end-of-season showpiece but Enrique would not be drawn into discussing that possibility.

Javier Mascherano is a doubt for Saturday's game after sustaining a thigh injury in midweek while Rafinha could return after a broken nose ruled him out of Tuesday's match.

Alaves' Cup hero Edgar Mendez, who came off the bench to score the winner against Celta Vigo in midweek, suffered a leg injury and is in doubt for the clash.

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