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Sep 28, 2012

Palop confident of Barcelona result

Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop says his side's victory over Real Madrid two weeks ago shows there is no reason why they cannot also beat Barcelona when Tito Vilanova's side visit on Saturday.

The Andalucian side have begun the season in excellent form, currently sitting fifth in La Liga and remaining unbeaten after five games.

Sevilla's highlight of the season thus far came when Piotr Trochowski's goal gave them a 1-0 win at home against the Spanish champions earlier this month, and Palop believes the victory shows that his side do not need to fear anyone who visits their Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.

"If you have played like that against Madrid and you have won, you know that if you play the same way against Barca, you will cause them problems too," he said.

Barca have enjoyed a promising start to the season, winning five out of five in the league, but former Valencia man Palop thinks that Vilanova has not changed much since taking charge last summer, while the club's dangermen still remain the same.

"The pattern of play of the team is the same as Pep's," Palop said. "They have players like Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas who can decide games, and in a way you do not expect."

Palop, 39, is currently keeping €3.5 million summer signing Diego Alves out of the Sevilla team despite his advancing years and says that he is very happy to still be playing at the top level.

"When you are still in the elite at this age it is because you have something inside, not because they give you a gift," he said. "I am not thinking of retiring, just the opposite. I enjoy this job and I enjoy coming to training every day."

Another Sevilla player currently enjoying his football is centre-half Alberto Botia, who is set to face his former side in Saturday's game.

Botia, 23, who joined the Rojiblancos for €2.5 million in August after spending two seasons at Sporting Gijon, believes his time at Barcelona is behind him now.

"I do not think about Barca any more," he told El Mundo Deportivo on Friday. "I am enjoying being at Sevilla, they made a big bet on me and things are turning out well."

Sevilla have not conceded a goal since the defender made his debut at half-time against Granada in their second game of the season, while they also boast the league's best defensive record.

"I am very happy with everything, but the league has only just started," Botia added. "We have not conceded a goal in three games, which says we are working well. We just need to score more ourselves."

Botia would not be drawn on reports Barcelona were claiming 30% of the fee paid to Sporting this summer but he did admit it would be a challenge to keep Sevilla's run of clean sheets going against his former club, and especially thei star forward Messi.

"Barca are a very strong team, top of the league," he said. "We must multiply our powers of concentration. There is no formula for stopping Messi. He does not give you any options, so you need a lot of help from your team-mates."

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