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Sep 27, 2012

Busquets sees room for improvement

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets says he is delighted with his side's 100% start to the La Liga and Champions League campaigns, but believes they need to play better, score quicker and be more solid in defence with the first La Liga Clasico against Real Madrid looming.

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Tito Vilanova's side have won all six Primera Division and Champions League games so far this season, but their pivote told Mundo Deportivo that performances need to improve.

"It is important to have started like this, with full points in La Liga and the Champions League, but also it is true that we need to improve our play," Busquets said. "We need to be more solid in defence and put ourselves in different positions. Teams are sitting back with all 11 on the edge of the area. We need to look to do things differently."

Busquets, 24, gave the example of last Saturday's game at home to Granada, when Barca struggled to make a breakthrough and Victor Valdes was called upon to make a superb save from Fabian Orellana at 0-0 before Xavi Hernandez's 87th minute golazo broke the deadlock.

"Maybe we need to reach the second halves with a more favourable result," he said. "If we do not manage that, we know that they will lie deeper and deeper and that we will leave them more space on the counter when we attack to win the game."

"The basic idea is to score the first goal quickly so that the opponent cannot just sit back. From there, we will find more space. That way we will be more solid and we can link-up better in the middle of the field, which is what we like to do, and not just on the wings, which is what most teams are making us do."

Barca's lack of rhythm or solidity so far has not been helped by injuries to key players including Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, while new coach Vilanova has been careful to rotate his fit players - including Xavi, Busquets and Lionel Messi - to keep them fresh.

With the first La Liga Clasico on October 7, Iniesta could travel for Barca's game at Sevilla on Saturday, but is more likely to be given a run-out in their Champions League group game at Benfica next Wednesday.

Pique and Puyol are more likely to remain in Barcelona for treatment on their ankle and knee injuries, but reports in Spanish daily AS on Thursday morning claimed neither had yet been discounted for the Madrid clash.

Busquets trained alone on Wednesday morning, suffering a minor back issue, but is expected to be fit to face Sevilla this weekend. He said Barca needed to concentrate 100% on that game, pointing out that Michel's team had already beaten Real at the Estadio Sanchez-Pizjuan.

"This game is not affected because the next opponent is Madrid," Busquets said. "Sevilla is a very difficult ground and their team are in good form. We saw that already against Madrid. With Michel they are much better, much fresher. They have clear ideas. It will be difficult to take the three points, but we will go for them."

Looking at his own game, Busquets - who has won three La Liga titles, two Copas del Reys, two Champions Leagues, the World Cup and the European Championship in just four seasons as a senior professional - said there were areas he needed to work on.

"I just recently turned 24 and I would be making a mistake if I believed I did not need to improve," he said. "I play a position where you do hidden work, it is not as visible as dribbling or scoring goals, but I am very happy.

"I am working on my long passing and shooting, but also on my positioning, to be more aggressive - small pieces of everything."

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