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Holders urged to raise their game

Josep Guardiola wants FC Barcelona to take the initiative from the off when the UEFA Champions League holders host FC Internazionale Milano striving to overturn a 3-1 first-leg loss.

Holders urged to raise their game
Holders urged to raise their game ©UEFA.com

Holders FC Barcelona have been instructed to "attack more than we did in the first leg" by Josep Guardiola in order to overturn a 3-1 deficit against FC Internazionale Milano and reach the UEFA Champions League final. While the Azulgrana coach wants the home support to create a party atmosphere at the Camp Nou, opposite number José Mourinho is hoping Inter can take one step closer to achieving their "dream" of a first European crown since 1965.

Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
Inter are an extraordinary team. Everyone is talking a lot about us and saying hardly anything about Inter. We have to control possession and attack more than we did in the first leg. We're very happy, it's a pleasure to be faced with this match and I want the players to know this is a privilege, an honour that we might not have again. I want them to enjoy it and I want the fans to see this as a huge party.

I don't know if we'll turn the tie around or not. We want to reach the final and we have a good enough team to do it, but we have never said this is a done deal. In Milan we scored the first goal and then stopped pushing for the second and we have to change that because we only have 90 minutes. We respect Inter a lot and we're not thinking about what we have accomplished before, only about winning the Champions League again. If we get to the final it'll be after playing a great match.

José Mourinho, Inter coach
We will see if [Wesley] Sneijder can play the full 90 minutes. He has a minor injury but he will play. There are important matches after this one so I will have to take a risk. The scoreboard says it's 3-1 with 90 minutes left, but history is full of cases when a team that held an advantage ended up losing. How many times have results been turned around? The only thing concerning me is helping Inter realise their dream.

I can't say it's my dream because I've won the Champions League before, but for Inter it's been over 40 years since they won the competition so it's a dream for them. It'll be a different match to the one in November, when Barcelona were superior to us in many ways. I also expect a different game to the first leg, too. Barcelona are still the great team they were in November and December but Inter have improved.

Team news
Andrés Iniesta (right thigh), Eric Abidal (groin tear)
Doubtful: none
Suspended: Carles Puyol
Misses next match if booked:
Daniel Alves, Gerard Piqué

• Abidal failed a fitness test on Tuesday so Maxwell could start while Gabriel Milito may replace Puyol, meaning he could face elder brother Diego.

Davide Santon (knee), Francesco Toldo (leg)
Doubtful: Goran Pandev (thigh)
Dejan Stanković
Misses next match if booked: Samuel Eto'o, Maicon, Walter Samuel, Javier Zanetti

• Inter are hopeful that Pandev can recover from his first-leg injury while Wesley Sneijder was withdrawn at half-time against Atalanta BC on Saturday with a hamstring problem.

Weekend results
24/04/10 Barcelona 3-1 Xerez CD
(Jeffrén 14, Henry 24, Ibrahimović 56; Bermejo 25)

• Barcelona bounced back from losing by a more than one goal for the first time under Guardiola in Milan by winning their 11th straight home game, beating the Liga's bottom side who ended with nine men.

• Guardiola's side have already matched their 2009/10 titlewinning points tally of 87 but are only one clear of Real Madrid CF with four games left.

24/04/10 Inter 3-1 Atalanta BC
(Milito 24, Muntari 35, Chivu 78; Tiribocchi 5)

• An Inter side with six changes won to reclaim the Serie A lead, moving two points ahead of AS Roma with three games left.

• Cristian Chivu scored his first Inter goal in his 88th appearance since joining from Roma in summer 2007.

• Barcelona inflicted Inter's only defeat of this season's UEFA Champions League with a 2-0 Camp Nou group-stage win on 24 November.

• Inter have only won three of their seven European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals but came through both times the first leg was at home, including their most recent success against Celtic FC in 1971/72.

Team Ties
• Samuel Eto'o scored 129 goals in 200 appearances for Barcelona while the man who moved the opposite way last summer, Zlatan Ibrahimović, managed 66 in 116 Inter games.

• If Diego and Gabriel Milito both play they would be only the fourth set of brothers to meet in a UEFA club fixture and the first in this competition.

Did you know?
• Inter have won home first legs of 43 UEFA club competition ties and only four times have then been eliminated. However Barcelona have lost 22 away first legs and still gone through on 11 of those occasions.

Read more on the match in the official UEFA Champions League press kit.

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