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Barcelona measuring-stick for Panathinaikos

Newly appointed coach Jesualdo Ferreira is hoping to get the measure of his players when Panathinaikos FC take on an FC Barcelona team hungry for three points in Group D.

Barcelona measuring-stick for Panathinaikos
Barcelona measuring-stick for Panathinaikos ©UEFA.com

Four days after being named Nikos Nioplias's long-term successor, former FC Porto and Málaga CF coach Jesualdo Ferreira faces an awe-inspiring debut at the Panathinaikos FC helm: FC Barcelona come calling in UEFA Champions League Group D. Josep Guardiola's side took the Greens apart on Matchday 1, triumphing 5-1 at Camp Nou, but are not quite sure what to expect in Athens. Victory remains a must for the wannabe group winners, however.

Jesualdo Ferreira, Panathinaikos coach
We all know who Barcelona are. What we have to do is get serious, know what we want from the game and live up to our expectations. My players should understand that we must not fear Barcelona. I can't change much as a coach in two days at a club, but we can change our players' way of thinking. The result of tomorrow's match is important, but even more important is my players' mental approach to teams of this calibre.

In fact, it is perfect that my debut will be against Barcelona. Because I will be able to gauge the quality and mentality of my players against one of the best teams in the world.

Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
We always expect the best from our opponents. We have a slight disadvantage against Panathinaikos, though, because we don't know how they will play under their new coach. We know Jesualdo Ferreira from Porto and Málaga but have no idea how Panathinaikos will play under him. A new coach always inspires enthusiasm in players, but it's very important for us to win the group so it's crucial we take three points here.

It is also true that we have been in very good shape recently, but we have to demonstrate that against Panathinaikos. It is very important for us that Andrés Iniesta is playing more games now. Last season, injuries stopped us seeing enough of him. The more he plays, the better he gets.

Team news
Jean-Alain Boumsong returned to the starting lineup against Iraklis FC on Saturday after recovering from a thigh injury; Sotiris Ninis (foot and quadriceps) was an unused substitute. Sebastian Leto has been out with a knee injury since 3 October.

Éric Abidal failed to make Saturday's trip to UD Almería after sustaining a right thigh strain.

Weekend results
20/11/10 Panathinaikos 4-2 Iraklis FC
Jesualdo Ferreira was installed as Nioplias's replacement on the day of the Iraklis victory, though Jacek Gmoch remained in charge for the game.

20/11/10 UD Almería 0-8 Barcelona
(Messi 17 37 67, Iniesta 19, Acasiete og 27, Pedro 35, Bojan 62 73)
This triumph equalled Barcelona's record away victory in the Spanish top flight. The Camp Nou outfit won by the same scoreline at UD Las Palmas on 25 October 1959. Messi has now scored in each of his last nine matches for club and country.

Did you know?
Panathinaikos have lost all three of their away games against Barcelona, but have yet to concede a goal at home to the Catalan side. They beat the Blaugrana 1-0 in Athens in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals and held them to a goalless draw in the 2005/06 group stage.

See the match background for more information.

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