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Downhearted Barcelona face tough Villarreal test

(GSM) – Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola should encourage and lift his players from their Champions League heartbreak for the weekend trip to Villarreal in La Liga.

Barca won all six trophies available to them last year but they are in danger of ending 2010 empty-handed unless they can put Wednesday night’s disappointing Champions League semi-final exit to Inter Milan behind them.

Currently, the reigning champions are a point ahead of Real Madrid at the top of the Primera Division standings with four games remaining.

However, Barca look to have the much trickier task this weekend as, while Madrid look to make it 17 home wins out of 18 when they host mid-table Osasuna, Guardiola’s men have to go to improving Villarreal.

Villarreal, who have lost just twice at home this season, have won five of their last six matches to climb up to sixth in the standings.

“We now have to pick ourselves up, get ourselves right psychologically and plan for Saturday’s game,” said Guardiola.

“We have not had a long time to prepare but now we have to concentrate on finishing the season well,” he said about Villarreal clash.

President Joan Laporta went down to visit the players after training to give them his support.

“To win the league we must now win the four games and we are going to do it,” Laporta said.

“While it is easy to say it, you win the league on the pitch and we will have to give everything in order to achieve it. We are best placed but we now have to raise the spirits of the players,” he added.

Villarreal will pose a tough test as they have rediscovered their form under coach Juan Carlos Garrido and are pushing for a place in Europe.

Midfielder Xavi Hernandez is the main injury doubt for Barca after picking up a calf strain.

Fri 30 April, 2010
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