Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez warned his players they cannot fail when they face Inter Milan in the Champions League at the San Siro.
Both Barca and Inter have lost to Group C leaders Bayern Munich, and head into the clash on three points from the first two games.
The Champions League has proven a cruel place for Barcelona in recent years, since they won it in 2015, and last season they suffered a humiliating group stage elimination.
“The game is vital tomorrow, not definitive, but very important if we are to get through to the next round,” Xavi told a press conference yesterday.
“We both lost to Bayern so tomorrow’s game is huge. We will see what Bayern do tomorrow too, but we cannot fail. That’s in our heads, we cannot fail.”
The Catalans are in good form, top of La Liga and unbeaten domestically, while Inter Milan are struggling, ninth in Serie A with four defeats in eight games.
However Xavi believes prior results are not important and that Inter can pose his team a different threat to any side in Spain. “Form doesn’t matter that much, we’ve played many games in which we were favourites and we lost,” added Xavi.
“Inter are very strong, they have great movement in attack, they use a dynamic style with two forwards that isn’t used in the Spanish league.
“This is the toughest group we’ve had in the Champions League for many years, it will be very difficult. We have to show the personality we showed in Munich but get the result.”
Barcelona left-back Marcos Alonso started that game and is expected to feature against Inter Milan, although potentially out of position.
Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Hector Bellerin, Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong are injured and Alonso could be used at centre-back if Xavi decides to line up with three defenders in that position.
“It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve played there,” said Alonso. “My main desire is to play, if the coach wants me there, then I will give my all and do my best for the team.”
Barcelona coach Xavi during a training session at the San Siro in Milan yesterday. (Reuters)