Tata Martino’s Barcelona side face Sevilla on Saturday evening in the first fixture after the international break, and he was asked of the possibility of the ‘FIFA virus’ hitting his players.
“Always statistics can be looked at from one point of view, but overall I think we should focus on the present, which is very good.
“And most importantly, the players have returned from their national teams without issue and have trained well, so we have had time to prepare for tomorrow’s game.
“Hopefully we can repeat the first part of what we saw against Valencia, which is the best performance we have had since the season began.”
Unai Emery meanwhile, has insisted that his Sevilla team can create chances at Camp Nou.
“We have two realities in a game like this. Theirs, that this is Barcelona, who reach 100 points every year and ours, where we have our chances despite the difficulty of the game. The first thing to believe is that we have our chances if we provide a very good performance. Then, we must have the desire and show it on the field.
“Will I change tactics? There are options on whether or not I reinforce the midfield [to five men with two defensive pivots, as speculated], just as if we can strengthen other positions.
“We will put together a team that I know will push when Barcelona has the ball and will have options to counter-attack when we have the ball.
“Barcelona are going to demand a lot and we have to be close together both in defence and attack.”