Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola is concerned about his side’s lack of firepower as he prepares for tonight’s vist of Sporting.
“It’s a bit of a handicap when you are not scoring goals,” Guardiola said. “But it’s very difficult to correct that when it happens. Goals are a question of technique, work, luck and feeling. I know our work is good, I know we are creating chances, so I’m not too worried.
“I’d rather say that it’s a pleasure to coach this club in this competition, because the Champions League means that you are up against the best footballers, the biggest clubs. And the world is watching what you do, which I like.”
Against Sporting he can call on Rafael Marquez, Thierry Henry and Sylvinho, all of whom were absent from Saturday’s draw with Racing. It is also likely that Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta, substitutes on Saturday, will start.
“There is no comfort zone given our recent results, but you are always obliged to win your home games in this or any competition,” continued the 37-year-old. “I knew about the situation when I joined, I knew how demanding it would be. I can’t and won’t predict what will happen if we don’t win against Sporting, but I do know how I plan to win and what I’ll ask my players to do.”
Sporting coach Paulo Bento has confidence that Guardiola will eventually get things right at Camp Nou, although he hopes that the turnaround will not begin tonight.
“Pep was a great at Barça and he’ll know exactly how to build this club,” he said. “The good play and the goals will definitely arrive – I just hope neither come against us. Simply because they’ve dropped form for a couple of matches doesn’t mean I’m less worried than when the draw was made.
Barca are a great club but Sporting’s philosophy is to play to win no matter where we are or who we face.”
Bento could welcome back striker Yannick Djalo after a muscle injury while former Barcelona player Fabio Rochemback returns to the Camp Nou in Sporting’s midfield.