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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Football

Champions League: Barcelona hope to rein in Real
AFP
Madrid, March 23, 2014
First Published: 01:12 IST(23/3/2014)
Last Updated: 01:14 IST(23/3/2014)

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has insisted they can turn around their poor away form and put themselves right back in the La Liga title race by beating leaders Real Madrid on Sunday.

The Catalans currently lie in third, four points adrift of Real, having won just one of their last five away games in La Liga.

However, Iniesta believes the Spanish champions showed in their two recent games against Manchester City in the Champions League that they are still capable of beating anyone on their day.

"We have had bad days, like everyone, but no one can think that Madrid will beat us easily," he told a press conference on Thursday.

"It is difficult to think that there are Barca fans that don't believe in us. This team has won the right to believe in it no matter what the situation is."

Barca boss Gerardo Martino will have the luxury of a fully-fit squad to choose from and looks set to name the side that started the home leg against City for just the second time all season.

That means Neymar and Cesc Fabregas will return after being rested for last weekend's 7-0 win over Osasuna with Pedro Rodriguez and Alexis Sanchez, who struck the winner the last time Barca met Real back in October, dropping to the bench.

And Iniesta is urging his teammates to impose themselves on the game rather than being cowed by the atmosphere at the Bernabeu.

"We need to play a perfect game because that is what the opponent will demand of us, but we are capable of doing so.

"More than thinking about them, we need to think about ourselves. We need to be Barca, to be brave. If we are not then it won't go well for us. When things have gone well, it is because we have played like that."

Madrid haven't been beaten in 31 games in all competitions since the two sides met at the Camp Nou. That run has allowed Carlo Ancelotti's men to overtake Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, whilst also progressing to the Copa del Rey final and the quarterfinals of the Champions League.


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