FC Barcelona Target Ajax Boost Ahead of El Clasico

Updated: 20 October 2014 13:07 IST

FC Barcelona are in need of a win to get their Champions League campaign back on track after tasting defeat for the first time this season in their last European outing at Paris Saint-Germain.

FC Barcelona Target Ajax Boost Ahead of El Clasico
Lionel Messi (center) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal. © AFP

Barcelona:

Barcelona begin the biggest week of coach Luis Enrique's brief reign in charge when Dutch champions Ajax visit the Camp Nou on Tuesday.

Enrique's men are in need of a win to get their Champions League campaign back on track after tasting defeat for the first time this season in their last European outing at Paris Saint-Germain.

And the Barca boss will be hoping for a trouble free evening with the first El Clasico of the season away to Real Madrid to come on Saturday.

"What concerns me now is that they recover, rest and that they go into the game on Tuesday in the best condition possible," said Enrique after his side's 3-0 win over Eibar on Saturday.

The former Barca captain is likely to rotate his side once more for the meeting against a former teammate in Frank de Boer's Ajax side.

Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic were rested against Eibar and are likely to return in midfield, but Xavi Hernandez could retain his place after impressing and scoring the opening goal against the Basques.

Xavi broke compatriot Raul's record for the most appearances in Champions League history against PSG and has warned his teammates against looking ahead to the Bernabeu clash.

"We have Ajax first at home. After the slip up in Paris we need to get the three points, especially playing at home."

Enrique also has a decision to make in goal as Claudio Bravo has yet to concede in eight league games so far this season, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen was at fault for at least one goal in the defeat in Paris.

However, Xavi believes Barca's stellar defensive record on the domestic front is thanks to a collective effort rather than brilliance from Bravo.

"It is not a coincidence," said the 34-year-old.

"We all track back, the boss has his specific instructions so that we all work well in our own zones. It is a collective job and we are doing it very well."

The Catalans will certainly need to defend better than they did in their last outing against Ajax in losing 2-1 in Amsterdam last November.

The four-time European champions are also in need of the points having drawn against PSG at home and APOEL Nicosia away so far in Group F.

De Boer will be without one of the heroes of the triumph over Barca last season, though, as South African international Thulani Serero, who scored the opening goal in that game, has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Nicolai Boilesen has also not travelled with the squad after suffering concussion when on international duty with Denmark.

However, forwards Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Arek Milik will be eying another giant killing after they starred for Iceland and Poland in their respective wins over the Netherlands and Germany recently.



Topics : Barcelona Ajax Football
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