UEFA Champions League updates: 31 March-6 April

All the latest from the last eight.

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by UEFA.com newsdesk - 31/03/2014
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With Gerardo Martino set to talk to the press in a matter of minutes, a quick recap on his reaction to the weekend win at RCD Espanyol, courtesy of Paul Bryan…

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi decided a difficult derby encounter against RCD Espanyol in his team's favour with the only goal of the game on Saturday, a 77th minute penalty. The Argentinian's 36th goal in as many outings for the Blaugrana this term – and his first ever goal at the Cornellà-El Prat stadium – kept the reigning Liga champions to within a point of leaders Club Atlético de Madrid, Barça's UEFA Champions League quarter-final opponents.

Speaking after the victory against the ten-men of Espanyol, coach Gerardo Martino said: "With their improving pressing game, we had to start using the long ball. Derby games will always be derby games and you have to try to win them [by whatever means possible]."

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FC Bayern München are focussed entirely on the UEFA Champions League according to Steffen Potter, but an injury to Thiago Alcántara could affect their chances…

With the Bundesliga title already wrapped up, FC Bayern München have two more trophies to aim for to repeat last season's treble, but there is no doubting which is the more important to them. "Now only the Champions League counts," confirmed Bayern attacker Thomas Müller, with sporting director Matthias Sammer adding: "The really important games are coming now."

Though Bayern lost their winning run in the 3-3 draw to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at the weekend, the main downside came with the news that midfielder Thiago Alcántara suffered a knee injury which will keep him out for up to two months. "We are less without him," said coach Josep Guardiola. "It will be two hard games. We have to earn our place in the semis," the Spaniard added on the clash with Manchester United FC, the first leg of which takes place tomorrow.

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Daniel Alves is just sitting down in the FC Barcelona press conference. Our reporter on the spot, Lucy Turner, will have live updates...

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Lucy Turner reporting live from the FC Barcelona press conference...

Daniel Alves, FC Barcelona defender:


I think we cannot look back because the league and the Super Cup [against Club Atlético de Madrid] are different competitions to this one. I think we have to take a step forward, to get a good result here because the tie will be decided in the second leg. We have to compete well and make sure the step we take is towards winning.

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Daniel Alves, FC Barcelona defender: 


I think this is a difficult match but not just because of Diego Costa. He is an important player for them, but Atlético are about a lot more than Costa. It is a very intense team and we have to control that aspect of them. If we are not united, we will not achieve our objectives. To enjoy success the fans have to cheer the team on at the Camp Nou. That is my truth and I stand by it. I am transparent in my thoughts and words.

 

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Bastian Schweinsteiger (FC Bayern München)
Bastian Schweinsteiger of FC Bayern München takes part in a training session ahead of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg against Manchester United FC
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Daniel Alves, FC Barcelona defender:


This team never reserves fuel for another match. In this profession, sometimes things are unfair. People have a very short memory in football. Five years ago it was chaos here and people did not believe in us. A few weeks ago it was chaos again and now we have turned all that around again. There is a campaign to end the cycle at this team, but when a cycle comes to an end, another one starts. We have to keep calm but it depends on us whether we take a step forward or backwards.

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Simon Hart makes contact from Manchester with an update on the local press's reaction to Manchester United FC's Saturday win, and the anticipation ahead of FC Bayern München's arrival...

Today's Manchester Evening News notes that "the only plane David Moyes and United have to worry about now is the one flying in from Germany" as the paper reflects on a return to winning ways for Manchester United FC at Old Trafford on Saturday. United's 4-1 victory over Aston Villa FC was the perfect answer to those fans who had paid for a light aircraft to fly over Old Trafford with a banner expressing disapproval with the manager. The MEN writes: "The potential repercussions from Saturday's stunt were cleverly negotiated by Moyes, classily given the thumbs down by most of United's fans inside the stadium and effectively shot down in flames by the Reds racking up their biggest home win of a difficult season.

"Over-coming Pep Guardiola's all-conquering Teutonic machine will be a different problem entirely. But if the same togetherness and renewed confidence is shown by all parties in tomorrow night's Champions League quarter-final first leg, then Bayern might just be feeling as empty as the pockets of those who clubbed together to organise Saturday's fly-past." 

The Guardian, meanwhile, points to the impressive performance of "the excellent Shinji Kagawa" on Saturday, adding: "It will be interesting to see whether Moyes retains the attack-minded Kagawa in his midfield for Tuesday's home leg or makes a more cautious selection."

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More from Lucy Turner in Barcelona, as the Blaugrana coach has just sat down for his press conference…

Gerardo Martino, FC Barcelona manager:


Atlético have been doing great things this season and last season too. They are alive in two competitions and they seem very confident and strong. In the three games against them [this season], they have proved to be a very tough opponent.

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Gerardo Martino, FC Barcelona coach: 


We have to win and not concede any goals, that is basic when there is a return leg. The first thing we need to do is to win because then the responsibility lies with the opponent.

I always think that if you were not courageous, you would not be where you are now. You need to be brave to play the way we do, so you can rest assured we will be brave tomorrow, guaranteed.

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UEFA.com newsdesk

Jim Wirth

UEFA.com French newsdeskUEFA.com French newsdesk

UEFA.com newsdesk

 
 

Fan confidence

See how fans felt about their club on matchday 9

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  • f2Man. United

    Man. United

  • f4Paris

    Paris

  • f5Real Madrid

    Real Madrid

Your confidence

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  • Bag of nerves

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Overall fan confidence  
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  • Surefire win!

Votes are closed for matchday 9. Vote on the next matchday to win great prizes!

Least confident fans

Man. United

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Competition statistics

Matches played: 116

Goals scored
339 Total
2.92 Match average
Total attempts
2887 Total
24.89 Match average
on target
1715 Total
14.78 Match average
off target
1171 Total
10.09 Match average
blocked
584 Total
5.03 Match average
against woodwork
74 Total
0.64 Match average
Corners
1148 Total
9.9 Match average
Offsides
511 Total
4.41 Match average
Yellow cards
479 Total
4.13 Match average
Red Cards
27 Total
0.23 Match average
Fouls committed
3206 Total
27.64 Match average
Fouls suffered
3055 Total
26.34 Match average
Passes
134226 Total
1157.12 Match average
completed
101317 Total
873.42 Match average
Last updated: 03/04/2014 01:37 CET
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