Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has promised that his side will “fight to the end” of their UEFA Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.
The La Liga leaders require a significant turnaround to reach the tournament final, having suffered a 4-0 defeat in the first leg of the teams’ last-four meeting in Germany.
However, Vilanova is refusing to write off his side’s chances, and is expecting a vociferous Camp Nou crowd to boost the team on Wednesday.
“I expect that we will be ourselves – that we will try to be better than Bayern,” he said. “We know we have to score, I know we can do that.
“We should be ourselves – that is the important thing. Scoring goals but also playing good football. It is very obvious we cannot concede, it will make it that much harder, but we have to get goals as well.
“The players are aware of the difficulty of the match. We are Barcelona and we cannot take this tie for being lost already. If we do not make it, we have to hold our heads high, fight until the end and have our fans feel proud about us.
“We know we need the fans. It is not the same to have a quiet stadium compared to a stadium full of people cheering. Bayern had everyone cheering for them and that helped them without a doubt. But we cannot always ask the fans for help, we also have to give them something back in return.”
Vilanova went on to emphasise the importance of Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi to Barcelona’s hopes, with the pair having been sidelined through injury at various points during the campaign.
“When I said that without Pique we would not be the same team, I mean it. His season has been excellent. The fact that we have conceded goals has to do with the fact some players have been injured,” he continued.
“We know how important Messi is in our team especially when it comes to scoring goals. The better he plays, the better for the team. But we cannot put all the pressure on his shoulders, the rest of the team also has to help him. Obviously Messi will have a lot to say in tomorrow’s match.”
The 44-year-old coach revealed that Javier Mascherano will not feature due to injury, while Sergio Busquets’ participation is also in doubt.
“Mascherano will not be able to play tomorrow. He needs six weeks to recover and only four have gone by, so he will not be in the team,” he added.
“Sergio Busquets and some others are still suffering from minor injuries. We will see after the training session if Busquets is fit to play. “