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Barcelona expect Spartak ordeal

"You can't always win," shrugged coach Tito Vilanova as FC Barcelona embark on a new term against FC Spartak Moskva, whose Spanish boss is eager to silence the Camp Nou.

Tito Vilanova at the Barcelona press conference
Tito Vilanova at the Barcelona press conference ©Getty Images

FC Barcelona can take some comfort as they face FC Spartak Moskva in UEFA Champions League Group G, knowing they have never lost against a side coached by Unai Emery, but the former Valencia CF boss is eager to join the exclusive club of coaches who have silenced the Camp Nou.

Coach Tito Vilanova
Unai Emery we know every well and he knows us. He always gave us problems with Valencia. He hasn't been at Spartak long enough to do that much work with his players, but he is always bold.

The Champions League motivates every player – they hear the music and get very excited. They get to play against the best clubs in the best stadiums. Last season we were unfortunate to lose in the semi-finals, but football is cruel sometimes and treats you well at others, like when we reached the final after beating Chelsea. You can't always win. Barcelona have reached the semi-finals in the last four years since I have been here, but if we don't win it one season, we mustn't feel we have to win the competition the next.

The ideal situation is to start with a win. Spartak were in the third or fourth pot but any team can beat you in the Champions League, especially if you think it will be an easy match.

Weekend result
Saturday: Getafe CF 1-4 Barcelona (Adriano 32, Messi 74pen, 78, Sarabia 80, Villa 90)
Valdés; Montoya, Piqué, Puyol (Mascherano 57), Adriano; Xavi, Busquets, Thiago (Messi 59), Tello (Villa 76), Pedro; Fàbregas.

• Barça maintained their 100% start to the Liga campaign and were already a goal up before Lionel Messi – starting on the bench in a Liga game for the first time in a year – came on to register his third double of the season.

• David Villa continued his promising return from a leg break by adding a fourth.

Team news
Carles Puyol (knee) and Andrés Iniesta (adductor) have both been ruled out while Alexis Sánchez is doubtful with his own adductor problems. Vilanova will be hoping full-back Jordi Alba makes a quick recovery from the bout of flu that kept him out of Saturday's victory.

Coach Unai Emery
We have come here with a view to winning. We know they are the favourites in the group, but we're not going to let any chances slip as we try to beat the toughest team. I have never had the privilege of beating Barcelona – not many have – but if I get the chance, I want to beat them.

Barcelona keep possession, they control 90% of the game, but they don't always win, and we want to be one of the sides that beat them. It isn't easy to get the ball off them, but we will have our chances and we have to work hard to make them count. We have to be strong in defence to make sure those chances come our way.

We have had to adapt quickly following my move to Spartak, but I am satisfied with the team. The conditions here are excellent. They have a strong league, and there's a lot of room for improvement in our squad.

Weekend result
Saturday: FC Kuban Krasnodar 2-2 Spartak (Fidler 27, Özbiliz 63; McGeady 13, Emenike 53)
Dykan; D Kombarov, Insaurralde, Suchý, K Kombarov; Bilyaletdinov, Romulo, Källström (Carioca 72), McGeady; Dzyuba (Emenike 46), Ari (Jurado 79).

• Spartak have now gone three league matches without a win.

• Kim Källström and José Manuel Jurado made their competitive debuts for Spartak against Kuban.

Team news
Demy de Zeeuw serves a one-game ban following his red card in the play-off second leg against Fenerbahçe SK, and Spartak will also be without injured first-choice defenders Sergei Parshivlyuk (knee) and Nicolás Pareja (calf).

Match fact
As coach of Almería CF and Valencia, Emery lost each of his six visits to the Camp Nou and is still seeking his first victory against Barcelona at the 13th attempt. His overall record against Barcelona is W0 D5 L7.

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