Copa del Rey Preview: Barcelona v Atletico

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta predicts a "tough, intense" Copa del Rey quarter-final first-leg clash with Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou.

Andres Iniesta knows Barcelona must raise their game in their quest for honours as they prepare to face Atletico Madrid in a mouth-watering Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg on Wednesday.

The imperious Lionel Messi was once again the star of the show as Barca thrashed Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 on Sunday to remain hot on the heels of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

Messi scored his 30th hat-trick for free-scoring Barca, who are a point behind Carlo Ancelotti's men in second place and three better off than champions Atleti.

The Catalan giants have won four consecutive games - and scored 16 goals in the process - since suffering a shock defeat at Real Sociedad in their first game of the year.

Next up for Barca is a mouth-watering clash with Atleti at Camp Nou in midweek and Spain midfielder Iniesta believes there is plenty of room for improvement for Luis Enrique's men.

He told the club's official website: "Looking back at the first half of the league season, we haven't done badly. But we still need to get a lot better.

"I don't think it's a bad idea to rotate the team. It means we'll be better conditioned for the run-in to the end of the season. It's about doing what the coach decides and doing it as well as possible.

"It'll be a very tough, intense game against Atletico. They're a strong team. We'll need to do as well as possible and avoid committing errors."

Barca beat Diego Simeone's side at home just over a week ago in La Liga, when Neymar, Luis Suarez and Messi were on target in a 3-1 victory.

Defender Jordi Alba is not reading too much into that success ahead of the last-eight tie, as Barca attempt to make up for the disappointment of losing to Real Madrid in last year's final by going one better this time around.

The left-back said: "We're going into the cup game on good form, but not as favourites. It's a home and away game, and it'll be difficult."

Atleti knocked out city rivals and holders Real over two legs to seal their place in the quarter-finals, with Fernando Torres scoring his first two goals since returning to the club in a second leg that finished 2-2 to seal a 4-2 aggregate success.

Torres and Mario Mandzukic were paired in attack for the first time in Sunday's 2-0 win over Granada and midfielder Raul Garcia was not surprised to see the duo strike up an immediate understanding.

He said: "Good players always understand each other. The arrival of Fernando Torres is good for us, he gives the team more possibilities.

"Him, [Antoine] Griezmann, Raul Jimenez ... all the players we have are players who can understand each other well."

Barca will be without defender Douglas after he was ruled out for up to four weeks with a thigh injury.