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Mar 10, 2013

Roura: Barca ready for Milan

Jordi Roura insists Barcelona have returned to form ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie with AC Milan after a comfortable 2-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

• Blog: Boost for Barca
• La Liga review

Goals to Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi moved Barca 14 points clear atop the La Liga ladder, helping to relieve the Catalan side of some pressure, having lost three of their last four matches prior to the win.

Barca host Milan on Tuesday hoping to overturn the 2-0 first-leg deficit and Roura believes the routine win was essential to boosting morale.

"The best way to approach a match is to win the previous one," he said. "And that's what we did this Saturday. In any event, we're talking about two different competitions and they have nothing to do with each other.

"This Saturday's three points are fundamental to our title bid. The team played very well defensively. We managed to keep a clean sheet and for us that's important. It helps us ahead of the match on Tuesday.

"We're very excited to play the match [against Milan] and we're eager to compete. We will give everything we have to fight back until the referee blows the final whistle.

"Logically, we have to attack. However, we shouldn't confuse our desire to fight back with haste, we need to find the necessary balance. The faster we play the ball, the more chances we'll have when we attack.

"We have a very clear idea of how we want to approach the match. We're fairly certain on how Milan will play and how we want to play. Afterward, we'll see how it all plays out."

Roura's focus on the midweek clash with Milan was obvious through his starting line-up as Messi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets were left on the bench.

All three were sent on in the second half, with Roura particularly pleased with the performance of Cesc Fabregas, who was replaced by Messi.

"When new players come on, it's noticeable," he said. "They helped up close out the match. In addition, it's good for them to have the feeling that they contributed.

"Every player can have good and bad moments. We're very pleased with Cesc's work. He's played extraordinary games this season. The fans were very good with us, they cheered us on from the very beginning. On Tuesday they will be on our side again."

Midfielder Thiago remains optimistic about Barcelona's hopes of progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals, claiming it has become a priority for his side this season.

"We're playing for our lives in the Champions League on Tuesday, the most important title there is," he said. "We'll try to get a good result. Victory helps us boost our morale. We're optimistic ahead of the match against Milan."

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