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We´ll be ready for CL preliminaries, says Prandelli

SoccerNews in Serie A 31 Jul 2008

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Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli was upbeat despite watching his side out-played by Barcelona in a 3-1 friendly defeat.

Fiorentina, who finished fourth in Serie A last season, begin this campaign in two weeks with the final preliminary round of the Champions League.

And after goals from Carles Puyol, Jeffren Suarez and Bojan Krkic saw Barca ease to a comfortable victory on Wednesday night, Prandelli admitted his team weren't yet in top physical condition.

“We knew we were up against a strong team, one in which you can already see the imprint of (new Barca boss Pep) Guardiola,” said Prandelli.

“We're still not in our best physical condition but we will be ready for the preliminaries, matches which we're really looking forward to.”

Barca were in control from start to finish of this match with Olympics-bound Argentina magician Lionel Messi creating the first goal for Puyol, courtesy of a helping hand from former Manchester United centre-half Gerard Pique.

Two minutes after the break Jeffren doubled the visitors' advantage but Giampaolo Pazzini pulled one back on 69 minutes only for Bojan to restore the two-goal cushion two minutes later.

Pazzini started the game on the bench with new forward signing Alberto Gilardino getting the nod in the lone striking role.

But Pazzini is not prepared to accept being only a replacement.

“I tried to do my best and I was really happy to score,” he said. “I don't feel like the replacement for anyone.

“We all know that Gilardino is a champion but we're both playing for the starting jersey.”

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