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Aug 7, 2012

Iniesta: New coach, same pressure

Andres Iniesta says he and his Barcelona team-mates are under no extra pressure to help incoming head coach Tito Vilanova settle into his new job.

Iniesta, speaking with reporters ahead of Barca's friendly against Manchester United in Gothenburg on Wednesday, said that there were always demands at the Catalan club and this year was no different.

"There is no extra pressure just because we have a new coach," he said. "This club always demands the maximum. The most important thing is that the club continues with the same hunger, and continues to want to win. There is always pressure at this club."

Summer signing Jordi Alba and recently recovered forward David Villa have both been included in Vilanova's 24 man travelling squad for the game, but young winger Isaac Cuenca remains in Barcelona amid speculation over his future.

Iniesta said that Alex Song, who continues to be linked in the Catalan press with a €25 million move to the Camp Nou, would be a welcome addition to the Barca squad.

"(Song) is technically very good and physically very powerful," he said. "If he comes, it is because he has the standard to play here and we would welcome him."

Wednesday's game against Sir Alex Ferguson's side is preparation for Barcelona's La Liga campaign, which begins on Sunday August 19 at home to Real Sociedad, and also for the two Spanish Supercopa ties against Real Madrid on August 23 and 29.

"The only objective in pre-season is to improve and arrive at the official games in top form," Iniesta said. "The Supercopa is important because it is the first game we have against the current La Liga champions, but it will not determine the season. The objective is to win the game, which would obviously give us confidence, but it is only the beginning."

The World Cup 2010 winning goalscorer commented that the timing of Spain's friendly away in Puerto Rico next Wednesday did not help players get ready for the new club season.

"It is obviously not a short trip, but that is the calendar and we have responsibilities as World and European champions," he said. "Every country wants to play against Spain. It is not ideal, but the players go where they ask us. Going with a negative attitude would be doubly damaging."

Before leaving for that game, Iniesta, Alba, Villa and their Spanish international colleagues in the Barca squad fly direct from Sweden to Romania for a friendly against Dinamo Bucarest on Saturday.

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