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Martino wants Barca to build momentum

Gerardo Martino has urged Barcelona to repeat their midweek performance to avoid back-to-back league losses for the first time since 2009.

The Spanish champions were beaten 1-0 by Athletic Bilbao in their last La Liga outing and face a Villarreal side on Saturday undefeated in their previous four top-flight matches.

Following a 6-1 thrashing of Celtic in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, Martino is eager for his Barca side to continue their momentum.

“I hope we see the same Barca who played so well against Celtic,” he said on Friday.

“Every La Liga game is important from here on, any error can be paid for very expensively. We are looking for a very high level of play again, against a team with a lot of quality.

“Villarreal are among the sides who have played the best football in this competition. They have players who can change a game throughout their team — even if they are missing some players.”

Martino confirmed that Andres Iniesta could return from a hamstring injury for the game at Camp Nou, although Dani Alves will not be in contention.

“I didn’t play Iniesta against Celtic because he wasn’t quite 100 per cent, but he could have come on if necessary,” Martino added.

“Now he is in a better condition to face Villarreal. Alves is almost ready and just needs a couple more training sessions.”

Fri 13 December, 2013
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