Barcelona v Spartak

Emery: We are playing to win in Barcelona

September 19, 2012
By Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Spartak Moscow coach Unai Emery says that if his team play cleverly they can defeat Barcelona in Wednesday evening's Champions League group clash at the Camp Nou.

Unai Emery
PA PhotosUnai Emery established a fine reputation at Valencia.

Emery, who was Valencia coach for three seasons until leaving for Russia last summer, said Spartak were capable of overcoming the odds if they learned from how other teams had beaten Barca.

"We are coming with the intention to win," he said. "We want to show the bookmakers they are wrong to have us at 19 to 1. Barcelona always have control of the ball, and with it, control of the game.

"But they do not always win. We must work for certain moments when we can snatch control of the game from them. We must be efficient in front of goal and defensively we must be similar to teams which have been capable of winning at the Camp Nou."

Stopping Barca's talisman Leo Messi was just one of the things his side would need to do if they were to surprise Tito Vilanova's side, Emery said.

"Messi makes the difference," he said. "He, more than anyone, must be stopped. That does not just depend on one player, you must be together and help each other. But if you just concentrate on Messi, one of their other great players will do you damage."

Emery's Valencia sides often caused Josep Guardiola's Barcelona lots of problems, but never managed to beat them during his time in Spain, he said ruefully.

"It is not easy to beat Barca, but I am not happy just to give a good performance," he said. "I have another opportunity to try and beat them, something I have never done. We are very excited to be in the Champions League and we must play at our best."

Emery added that he was delighted David Villa had overcome his injury and sure that Jordi Alba would be a success as a Barcelona player.

"Having had Villa and Jordi Alba is one of the best things that happened to me as a coach," he said. "Villa's return is fantastic, he can get back to be as he was before. That makes me very happy. Although maybe I will suffer, I would be delighted if he plays. Jordi Alba will adapt very quickly. He will make progress soon."

The Basque coach said he and his assistant coaches were happy to help bring some of the knowledge they had gained in La Liga to the Russian league.

"I like it a lot at Spartak because they work very well," he said. "Russia wants to grow and I want to contribute. The idea is to adapt ourselves to the difficulties of the Russian league and try to transmit what we were doing in Spain."