Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mascherano eyes quadruple

SoccerNews in La Liga 6 Apr 2014

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Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano is confident the club can complete a stunning quadruple despite recent off-field difficulties.

The Catalan club were hit with a transfer embargo, to be applied for the next two windows, earlier this week for irregularities in their dealings at youth level, but have since confirmed their intention to appeal the sanction.

Gerardo Martino’s side at least provided cheer on the field on Saturday, winning 3-1 against Real Betis to stay firmly in contention for the La Liga title.

Barca have already won the Supercopa de Espana earlier this season by beating Atletico Madrid on away goals and will need to get past Diego Simeone’s men again in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash on Wednesday, following a 1-1 draw earlier this week.

The Camp Nou club are also into the final of the Copa del Rey, with Real Madrid set to provide the opposition later this month.

Martino insisted before the Betis match that Barca would not be distracted by their transfer ban, and Mascherano has reiterated that stance.

“We play the game – this group of players has experienced nearly every kind situation,” Mascherano told Barca’s official website.

“The team needs to try to show what Barca is through football. Everything else isn’t our concern

“We have the chance to win it all and we won’t give up despite what’s happening at the club.”

Barca will have to overcome injuries to key players if they are to achieve their goals.

Goalkeeper Victor Valdes will miss the rest of the season due to torn knee ligaments, while defender Gerard Pique is facing four weeks on the sidelines with a fractured hip.

However, centre-back Marc Bartra remains optimistic ahead of the crucial meeting with Atletico.

“We’ve had bad luck with injuries, but this group has shown that it can overcome delicate situations; we must overcome this and do our best,” Bartra said.

“I’m very optimistic (for the Atletico game), we’ll go all out at the Calderon with the hope of going through to the next round.”

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