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Barca sweat on Xavi fitness

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By David Redshaw

Tuesday 03 April 2012

Barcelona are sweating on the fitness of Xavi Hernández for Tuesday’s quarter-final second-leg Champions League clash with Milan at the Camp Nou.

The midfielder missed training on Monday with a calf muscle injury and faces a race against time to be ready for the crunch clash, but Pep Guardiola says he will be given time to prove his fitness.

“Xavi has had this problem for two days but he is in the squad,” the Barca boss told a Press conference. “We don’t want to rush things and he will have tests tomorrow. If he has been chosen it is because he has a chance of playing. I don’t want him to miss out but we’ll have to see how he feels. But I’m sure we’ll have 11 men on the field,” he joked.

Guardiola is aware that the first goal could prove vital after the 0-0 draw in the first leg, yet he says his players must go out with the mentality that they expect Milan to get on the scoresheet.

“We have to plan this match as if we know Milan will score,” he maintained. “It doesn’t worry me if they score against us because I think they will do so. What worries me more is that we score enough goals ourselves.”

Asked if Lionel Messi had problems playing against Italian teams, with his record of one goal from the penalty spot in seven games against Serie A sides, Guardiola said he would not put too much emphasis on that statistic.

“The Italians are very brave and difficult to break down,” explained Guardiola. “They are not easy to play against. Hence, Messi has not scored a lot of goals against them. But we’ll see what happens tomorrow....”

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