Barcelona news

Roura: We can overcome Milan

March 8, 2013
By Dermot Corrigan, France Correspondent

Barcelona's stand-in coach Jordi Roura has said he feels his players are "looking forward to overcoming Milan" as they try to recover from a 2-0 deficit in the Champions League.

Jordi Roura suffered bad injury as a player at AC Milan's San Siro stadium
GettyImagesJordi Roura has praised the response of his players

The last week has seen much soul-searching in Catalonia after the setback in Italy was followed by two crushing defeats to Real Madrid in five days.

The results left Barca players including Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba and Cesc Fabregas talking of feeling low.

Many observers have pointed to the importance of the absence of coach Tito Vilanova, who is receiving medical treatment in New York.

But speaking after training on Friday, Roura, Vilanova's assistant, said his 30-year association with the club had shown him that both positives and negatives tended to be overemphasised.

"There is always a tendency to get overly euphoric when we win and excessively pessimistic when we lose," he explained.

"We all want to come back against Milan. We had a long week but the response [of the players] is extraordinary, and that makes you think we have a chance.

"Messi, and all of them, are very competitive. When things do not go well, the group gets down for two days, no more.

"I see him, and all the team, very focused on tomorrow's game [at home to Deportivo La Coruna] and looking forward to overcoming Milan."

Even with their commanding 11-point lead in the Primera Division table, nobody at Barca was taking Saturday's game against the bottom side for granted, Roura said.

"The game against Deportivo is very important for us," he explained. "We must be very focused. Our objective is to keep fighting each week to win this league."

Playmaker Xavi, who has said he may need an injection in a torn hamstring to get him through the game against Milan, trained with his team-mates on Friday.

Roura, however, suggested that he would not be risked against Depor, saying: "He was back with the team and we will see if he is included in the squad for tomorrow.

"The coming days will be key to how he is for Tuesday. I need to speak with Tito to decide the line-up against Depor."

Cesc Fabregas, an unused sub for last week's 2-1 La Liga loss at Madrid, is in line to start. The former Arsenal man has come in for criticism from sections of the Camp Nou crowd, but his manager said: "He is playing a very good season, and we focus on that. We are delighted with Fabregas."

With Victor Valdes beginning a four-game suspension for insulting the referee after the loss to Madrid, back-up keeper Jose Pinto, 37, will start.

Roura said the club hoped Valdes' ban would be cut on appeal and was confident Pinto would show the good form he has displayed when playing in this season's Copa del Rey appearances. "We trust in Pinto, who always does well for us," he added.