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Pressure a positive for Rakitic

Ivan Rakitic believes turning pressure into a positive is they key to handling the demands of playing for Barcelona.

The Croatia international has been a mainstay of the side since signing from Sevilla in July 2014, during which time he has helped the club to pick up no fewer than five major trophies.

And while admitting that Camp Nou is a highly-pressurised environment, he feels he has found a successful way of dealing with it.

“The demands are very high,” he said. “The people, not just Barca’s fans, but football people in general, expect a lot from the team because the club is the biggest in the world. 

“It’s unique and there’s nothing equal to it. But I’ve also said I’m not going to kill myself thinking about things.

“I just what to enjoy myself, work hard and earn the confidence of my team-mates, the coaching staff and the president.

“I’m trying to see all the pressure that there is as a positive, good pressure to enjoy football. 

“If you can’t enjoy Barca, I don’t know where you will enjoy yourself.”  

Barca remain the favourites to win the Champions League having already taken a major step towards the last eight with a 2-0 first-leg victory over Arsenal in their round of 16 tie.

But the 27-year-old insisted that the opportunity to become the first team in the modern era to retain the trophy is not acting as an extra incentive for Luis Enrique’s side.

“Our objective is to win each game,” he said. “To be at a very high level. 

“In the dressing room when it’s not a Champions League game, we don’t talk about the Champions League, we talk about what’s coming next. 

“We don’t need a special motivation to want to win. 

“It would be nice to say we achieved it and were the first, of course, but it’s not our primary objective. Firstly, we have La Liga, because that’s our day to day. 

“Of course you don’t just want to be the best in Spain, but in Europe and then you fight to win the Club World Cup. But we take it step by step with humility.”

Wed 2 Mar, 2016
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