Quarter-final, second leg, kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
Shakhtar Donetsk (1) v Barcelona (5)
Mircea Lucescu admitted that Shakhtar Donetsk’s chances of overcoming their 5-1 first leg deficit are “very small”, but Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola refuses to accept that the tie is over.
Lucescu wants his players to enjoy their quarter-final decider and gain more experience for their anticipated return to the Champions League next season.
“We have huge problems in defence,” said Lucescu. “[Razvan] Raţ is suspended, [Dmytro] Chygrynskiy still isn’t ready and [Olexandr] Chyzhov and [Olexandr] Kucher haven’t completed their recoveries yet. It looks like [Mykola] Ishchenko will play. As you may remember, he played against Barcelona at home two-and-half years ago.
“I hope the players will do their best to get a proper result. Of course, our chances of getting through are very small, but we want to find a decent way out of this difficult situation.
“This Champions League season is priceless experience for us. We have learned many important things that will help us to develop further. We didn’t lose in London against Arsenal and at the Camp Nou because of the low level of our team.
“Shakhtar have strong and talented players, but in Barcelona we took to the pitch with thoughts that they are much stronger than we are. In the first leg, we gave them three presents. It’s a mistake to think Barcelona are strong [purely] because of their star players. Josep Guardiola has organised his team perfectly.”
Guardiola, meanwhile, who has the small matter of Saturday’s league encounter with Real Madrid looming on the horizon, is refusing to take anything for granted.
“We will play in our usual style, though some details will depend on Shakhtar’s tactics,” he said. “Tomorrow’s game won’t be a training session before Saturday’s match at Real Madrid. Despite a 5-1 defeat, Lucescu’s side is very strong; otherwise they would not have reached the quarter-finals.
“A serious test awaits us. We should complete our task in the Champions League before preparing for the Santiago Bernabéu. I want to repeat, again, that the tie is not already won. Anything is possible in football, but we will work hard to prevent Shakhtar pulling off a miracle.”
Carles Puyol and Bojan Krkic have not travelled to Ukraine. The former has been sidelined by a left knee problem since January, while Bojan has been ruled out for six to eight weeks with ligament damage. Andrés Iniesta is suspended for the game.