FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said Wednesday that Celta de Vigo, his side's next opponent in the Copa del Rey, is one of the hardest rivals in the competition.

Defending champion Barça is away to Celta in the first leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16 on Thursday.

"It's one of the hardest teams we could have drawn against because they play well as a team and generate a lot of pressure," Valverde said in comments cited on the Catalan club's official Web site.

He said that his side has "a lot of respect" for Celta, which held Barcelona 2-2 at Camp Nou in a La Liga match this season.

Valverde stated that Celta will put "a lot of pressure" on Barcelona.