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Marta Torrejón keeps Barcelona grounded

As FC Barcelona welcome SK Slavia Praha on Wednesday with a 1-0 lead, defender Marta Torrejón speaks about their aim for the home return and the competition.

Marta Torrejón in action
Marta Torrejón in action ©FC Barcelona

A season on from reaching the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finals, FC Barcelona began their new campaign in style with a 1-0 round of 32 first leg win at SK Slavia Praha.

On Wednesday they welcome Slavia to the Mini Estadi looking to set up a likely round of 16 meeting with Bristol Academy WFC. At the heart of Barcelona's defence is Marta Torrejón, who made her first-team debut for RCD Espanyol aged just 14 but nine years later in 2013 switched across the city with the stated aim of "looking for new challenges".

In her first season, Barcelona won the double and reached the European last eight, while she also helped Spain qualify for their first FIFA Women's World Cup. Now, as she tells UEFA.com, the focus is on finishing off Slavia.

UEFA.com: Slavia Praha are the reigning Czech champions and made things very difficult for you in the first leg. What was your analysis of the game in Prague?

Marta Torrejón: Any European team will always give you a tough game and the truth is we didn't know very much about them. We had some idea because some of us had come up against some Slavia players when Spain played the Czech Republic recently. For example, I knew their strikers and their style of play.

We went looking for an early goal and in our team-talk at half-time we made it very clear that we had to score, because we knew we were capable of getting one and we went all out for it. Scoring and keeping a clean sheet away from home in a tie like this is vital.

UEFA.com: You won thanks to Ruth García's header. How will you approach the return leg?

Marta Torrejón: We will be ready for it. We will analyse the first leg and look at their players and their weak points. I don't think they're going to change their system very much, especially as they are behind. They have to score at least one goal, so they will have to open up a bit at some point and we will be able to find more space. We will have to play with level heads so we can link up with each other and create chances when we attack.

UEFA.com: Slavia last played in this competition in 2004/05, while Barca have been in the last two campaigns, reaching the quarter-finals last season. Could that experience be important in the return leg?

Marta Torrejón: Last year we got to the quarter-finals and faced Wolfsburg and despite the fact we lost the game it helped us to improve, and to get the European experience we had previously lacked.

UEFA.com: There were over 4,000 supporters in the Stadion Eden in Prague. What was the atmosphere like there, and what reception are you expecting in the Mini Estadi on Wednesday?

Marta Torrejón: It had a big impact on us because we had been told there would be about 2,000 fans there and in the end there was double that amount. It was an incredible atmosphere. I hope that as many people come to the Mini Estadi on Wednesday. Women's football is growing and with every game, more and more people want to come and see us.

Marta Torrejón in first-leg action in Prague
Marta Torrejón in first-leg action in Prague©FC Barcelona

UEFA.com: After reaching the quarter-finals last season, is the aim this year to repeat that feat?

Marta Torrejón: Our aim is to win the league and the Copa de la Reina so the UEFA Women's Champions League is more like a reward for the effort we have made throughout the season, because the season is going to be very long and winning the league again won't be easy. We are very excited about playing in this competition. Last year we got to the quarter-finals but our aim this year is to take each game as it comes and keep our feet on the ground because we know it's going to be very difficult. I hope we can exceed that milestone. I think that everyone's aim is to improve on what we achieved last season.

UEFA.com: Spain recently qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time. How did that feel?

Marta Torrejón: We had been longing to qualify for the World Cup for so many years and now we can't wait for the tournament to come around. Last year, we played in the UEFA Women's EURO and reached the quarter-finals, and this year we managed to get into the World Cup after a great qualifying campaign, and didn't need to compete in the play-offs. I hope that us playing in the World Cup will help women's football in Spain to grow a little bit more.

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