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Barca under pressure as sickly Henry sidelined

SoccerNews in La Liga, Ligue 1 20 Sep 2008

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Barcelona said Saturday they have told French striker Thierry Henry to stay at home and recover from illness as they travel to Sporting Gijon for a must-win third league match of the season.

Henry has been diagnosed with pharyngitis – an inflammation of the pharynx in the throat – leaving Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola to choose from between Samuel Eto'o, Lionel Messi and Bojan Krkic.

Guardiola saw his side coast to victory over Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League in midweek, however the Catalan club are in dire need of a win against the bottom side in La Liga to boost morale after a draw and defeat from their first two games has left them in 15th place.

According to reports, defeat at Sporting Gijon on Sunday would leave Barcelona with their worst start to the season in over 35 years. In the 1973-1974 season they had one point after their first three matches.

Xavi Hernandez, who scored one goal in the 3-1 win over Sporting Lisbon, said it's time to step up.

“We can't afford another slip up,” said Xavi.

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