Xavi: Barca will attack Atletico

08 April 2014 11:47

Barcelona captain Xavi believes his side "must steal the limelight" against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday if they are to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League for the seventh straight season.

The two Primera Division sides square off at the Vincente Calderon stadium in the return leg with Atletico holding a slight advantage after last week's 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp.

"This is a final," Xavi said. "It's going to be complicated because we struggle to create goalscoring opportunities against Atletico.

"In all of the games we have played against them this season, we have been unable to take the lead.

"We must steal the limelight, dominate possession and attack them.

"The fact that we have to win this game will be an advantage for us."

Barca must score as a goalless draw would see Atletico go through thanks to Diego Ribas' away goal.

The clubs have drawn each of their four meetings this season.

"We are going to Madrid with all the will in the world," Xavi said. "We will face a team that we we must destroy and we will try to take the lead and see how they react.

"In football you cannot guarantee anything but we are Barcelona and we must try."

Barca go into the encounter in the Spanish capital on the back of a 3-0 win over Real Betis on Saturday, their fifth consecutive victory in the league.

The outcome allowed the Catalan giants to keep up the pressure on Atletico, who claimed a 1-0 win over Villarreal to remain one point clear of Barcelona at the top of the standings.

Atletico are not taking Barca lightly, and midfielder Tiago Mendes said: "The tie is wide open.

"We are not going into the game thinking that a goalless draw is enough. We are going to play as we always do, trying to score goals.

"This is a great opportunity for us because we are playing against a great Barcelona side and in the semi-finals of the competition.

"We are very excited because we can make history."

Atletico have not reached the final four among Europe's elite since 1974.

The hosts, coached by Diego Simeone, will be hoping to have top scorer Diego Costa (hamstring) and playmaker Arda Turan (groin) available after b oth players sat out the encounter against Villarreal.

"Diego Costa is a crucial player for them and if he doesn't play, it would be a major setback for them," Xavi said. "We will see if he plays and in what condition he arrives to the game."

Should Costa fail to recover, Raul Garcia is ready to take his place in attack after missing the opening leg through suspension.

Barca coach Gerardo Martino will be without injured defenders Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol.

Marc Bartra will partner Javier Mascherano at the heart of the defence.

Source: PA