Guardiola wary of upbeat Atletico

MADRID - Atletico Madrid's qualification on Thursday for the King's Cup final will fill them with confidence for Sunday's visit of depleted La Liga leaders Barcelona, according to Barca coach Pep Guardiola.

"Their self belief will be sky high as they are through to a final for the first time in 10 years," Guardiola, who has five first team defenders injured or suspended for the match at the Calderon, told a news conference.

It was important for Barcelona to control the match, Guardiola said, as a frenetic contest would favour Atletico, whose erratic season has left them 12th in the standings.

Barca's last three trips to Atletico have produced 19 goals. Argentina striker Sergio Aguero inspired the home side to 4-3 and 4-2 victories in the last two seasons but three years ago Barcelona won 6-0.

"If the match is back and forth, without control, they are stronger than us," he said. "We have to try to avoid that.

"They lack consistency and continuity. They are capable of playing the best match in history and then imploding."

Undefeated champions Barca have a five-point lead over second-placed Real Madrid, who play at bottom club Xerez later on Saturday, with just over half the season played.