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Iniesta needs oxygen of victory

Published: Monday 13 September 2010, 21.45CET
Andrés Iniesta is out to regain that familiar winning feeling as FC Barcelona bid to put their weekend woes behind them against Panathinaikos FC and former team-mate Luis García.
by Lucy Turner
from Barcelona
Iniesta needs oxygen of victory
Andrés Iniesta wants to restore the feel-good factor straight away ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

BarcelonaPanathinaikos

Goals scored30
 
2
Attempts on target98
 
16
Attempts off target80
 
20
Corners61
 
16
Offsides46
 
26
Fouls committed142
 
84
Yellow cards15
 
13
Red cards1
 
1
 
Published: Monday 13 September 2010, 21.45CET

Iniesta needs oxygen of victory

Andrés Iniesta is out to regain that familiar winning feeling as FC Barcelona bid to put their weekend woes behind them against Panathinaikos FC and former team-mate Luis García.

"The past doesn't win you matches" were Andrés Iniesta's considered words after FC Barcelona's home league defeat by Hercules CF on Saturday – and the midfielder will keep them in mind when the Blaugrana begin their UEFA Champions League season against Panathinaikos FC.

Iniesta is more used to winning after Barcelona and Spain's success in recent years, and the 26-year-old is not panicking as he prepares to face the Greek champions at Camp Nou on Tuesday. "When you lose, you just want to play the next game as soon as possible and win to feel good again," he said. "That's what we have to aim for. This is our first group match and we have to start well at home. The Champions League is very demanding and you can't make many mistakes."

The FIFA World Cup final match-winner's ambitions for the campaign are clear. "We feel every year we have a duty to try to win the Champions League," Iniesta said. "Last season we almost won it and, for the fans, that is something you don't forget. This season we have the chance to win it and be able to go to Wembley, but it's a long road and first we face Panathinaikos."

In 2005/06 Panathinaikos were dismissed 5-0 at Barcelona in the group stage, and Iniesta is calling for the full support of the home fans as Josep Guardiola's men chase another win. "I hope the stadium is full," he said. "The more people in the stands, the better. We're much stronger with them than without. It's the first Champions League Matchday and Panathinaikos have great players, which means we must be at 100%."

Barcelona are famous for bringing through youth products but one of Iniesta's academy predecessors Luis García – a team-mate in 2003/04 – will line up for Panathinaikos. "When I was in the youth teams, what I remember about Luis García was he scored loads of goals. He was a great player," the No8 said. "The image I have of him as a player is brilliant, and as a person too."

Forward García, who joined Panathinaikos from Real Racing Club in August, said of his Camp Nou return: "As usual I am delighted to be back. I have lots of friends here, it's a great stadium and I want to enjoy the atmosphere that a Champions League game brings. Everyone knows how Barcelona play, their many strengths and how hard it is to play here. We hope that staying focused for 90 minutes will be enough for victory."

Last updated: 14/09/10 11.22CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2011/matches/round=2000118/match=2002831/prematch/focus/index.html#iniesta+needs+oxygen+victory

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