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Barca out to win in Amsterdam, vows Martino

Gerardo Martino has insisted Barcelona are not interested in playing for a draw when they visit Ajax in the UEFA Champions League.

Barca head to the Amsterdam Arena six points clear of third-placed Ajax in Group H with just two games remaining, and a point on Tuesday would secure top spot and their passage to the knockout rounds for the 10th season in a row.

However, coach Martino said on Monday that the Spanish champions are solely focused on picking up their fourth win from five Champions League fixtures this term, while warning that his side face a tough test in the Dutch capital.

“We aren’t thinking about anything other than winning,” the Argentinian stated.

“I have always considered Ajax to be a very good team that works well with its youth system … I know we are up against a very difficult opponent that could finish second in the group.”

The reverse fixture on matchday one ended in a comprehensive 4-0 win for Barca, with Lionel Messi notching a hat-trick.

The forward is out of this encounter with a hamstring injury, but Martino is confident Barca have other players who can fill the void left by their talisman.

“If you were playing against Barca, you’d be pleased to know he’s (Messi’s) not in the team,” the 51-year-old admitted.

“But luckily we have a very strong squad at Barca, and with the players we have, there is no room for excuses.”

Mon 25 November, 2013
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