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Camp Nou, Spain

Attendance: 71519

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  • Andrés Iniesta 20' PEN
  • Cesc Fábregas 40' PEN
  • Alexis Sánchez 71'
  • Pedro 90'

4 - 0


Injuries are no excuse - Martino

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino will offer no excuses regarding the club's ever-increasing injury list should they slip up against Granada on Saturday.

Martino has seen his squad decimated over recent weeks with goalkeeper Victor Valdes, defender Dani Alves and key midfielder Xavi the latest players to fall victim to a variety of knocks.

They join Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba, Jonathan Dos Santos, Ibrahim Afellay and Cristian Tello on the sidelines although the Primera Division leaders can call on Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique this weekend after the pair came through training on Friday.

It is not an ideal situation for Martino, who, despite a record of 12 wins from 13 league games, has yet to truly win over the Nou Camp faithful after succeeding Tito Vilanova in the Barca hot-seat.

He remains adamant, however, that his weakened squad still possesses enough quality to see off Granada.

He said: "It's a difficult game as Granada have been doing well away from home this season.

"But we should never make excuses, we need to get on with it.

"The missing players are very good but those who will come in are also very good.

"I don't see a reason why we should be weaker. These unexpected situations should make us develop.

"We have a long list of injuries but we have the players to assemble a good team capable of a good game and winning well."

Martino did admit, though, that they would be without a couple of hugely influential players in Messi and Valdes.

"We're missing the best player in the world and the best goalkeeper in the world," he said, before backing the Argentinian's bid to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or for a fifth successive time.

Although Messi has had another stellar year, the award is expected to go to Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo who this week led Portugal to the World Cup finals with a hat-trick against Sweden.

"For me the best player in the world is Messi," said Martino. "If I could vote, I would vote for him.

"But the Golden Ball is secondary and will not affect him. The main thing is that he recovers (from injury) to become a decisive player."

The injuries mean Martino has turned to a couple of youngsters to pad out his squad.

But the former Newell's Old Boys boss has faith in striker Jean Marie Dongou and winger Adama Traore.

"We like Dongou as a centre forward," he said. "He did very well in pre-season and Adama is one of the most important up-and-coming projects at Barcelona."

Barca go into the game three points clear of Atletico at the top of the table but will meet a Granada side sitting pretty in eighth after a strong start to the season.

Fans of the Andalusian club could be forgiven for having raised expectations after looking at Barca's injury list but coach Lucas Alcaraz was unwilling to make any bold predictions ahead of the trip north.

"It's nice that the fans think now is the time to beat Barcelona but we have to think about the game itself and develop what we have been working on," he said.

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