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Pep wants to hear Nou Camp roar
Published : 21 Apr 2009 15:45:00
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola hopes the club's fans will get behind his team in the Primera Liga clash at home to Sevilla on Wednesday night. With seven rounds of the championship remaining, Barcelona still lead Real Madrid by six points. Barcelona beat Getafe by a single goal in Madrid on Saturday night and can all but sew up the title with wins against Sevilla on Wednesday and at Valencia this weekend. After that, the league leaders travel to the Santiago Bernabeu to face Real Madrid the following weekend, but Juande Ramos' side need to win that match and hope the Catalans slip up once more in the run-in if they are to claim a third successive title. Even if Barcelona were to lose twice, Madrid would have to win all their remaining matches and make sure they beat the Catalans by more than two goals to claim the head-to-head advantage - after Guardiola's side won the teams' first league fixture 2-0 at the Nou Camp earlier this season. Should the two sides finish level on points and tied on the head-to-head record, Barcelona's far superior goal difference would see them win a first championship since 2006, barring a series of freak results between now and the end of the campaign. In the meantime, Guardiola hopes the club's fans can play their part tomorrow."It's time for the Nou Camp," he said today. "We can't win without the support of our people; they have helped us a lot this year but we want even more because, if we win these games, we can compete for the titles."And the Barca coach hopes for a full house. "The more fans we have in the stadium, the better," he added. "We have been reliable away from home but at home there are some complicated matches and that's why I'm convinced the fans can help us in the run-in - I want to convince them that we really need them." Lionel Messi has a stomach problem and was unable to train today but Guardiola hopes his star player will be available for the Sevilla match. "He had a bad night and had to rest but he'll train before the game and we hope he'll be okay," he continued. With or without Messi, Guardiola expects a tough match. "Sevilla are always dangerous - they are third in the league and have great players," he said. Barcelona are still going strong in three competitions. The Catalans face Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final next Tuesday and meet Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Copa del Rey in May. Along with doubts over Messi, Gabi Milito remains sidelined but Guardiola should have an otherwise full-strength squad to choose from. Sevilla remain in third place but come into this match on the back of defeats against Getafe and Valencia. Manolo Jimenez's side lost out to two late goals at the Mestalla on Sunday and are now only five points ahead of Valencia. Barring a disastrous final seven games, however, the Andalusians should qualify for next season's Champions League. Jimenez insists his side must not simply focus on shutting out Barca on Wednesday. "It would be suicide if we only thought about counteracting what Barcelona do - we have to be disciplined but also play our own game," he said. Adriano and Andres Palop look set to miss out through suspension, although the club have appealed against both decisions. Should Palop's ban remain, youth team goalkeeper Javi Varas will come in for a rare start. Meanwhile, Ernesto Javier Chevanton is set to miss the rest of the season through injury.