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Mar 11, 2013

Pique: We'll come back to beat Milan

Gerard Pique has predicted that Barcelona will overturn their two-goal deficit against AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.

• Hunter: Xavi brings fresh perspective
• Barcelona blog: Believe!
• Milan blog: Camp Nou awaits
• Roura wants Barca patience

After Barca's 2-0 first leg defeat in Italy was followed by consecutive domestic losses to Real Madrid, players including Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas voiced concerns about the team's form.

But Spain international Pique was bullish as he spoke to reporters at the official UEFA pre-match press conference soon after Dani Alves had set his sights on a "historic comeback".

"I honestly believe we have the talent and the team to go through the tie," Pique said. "We know we are playing a great team with a great history and many Serie A titles and European Cups.

"They will be a very difficult opponent. But we will have the Camp Nou fans on our side and [are] one of the best Barca teams ever. I believe we can do it."

Pique said that any Barca supporters who did not believe a comeback was possible should pass their tickets on to people with more confidence in the team.

"Whoever does not believe should leave their ticket with a friend, a family member or anyone else," he said.

"We need 90,000 people who believe we can go through. For 90 years, this club won a trophy here and there but for the last 20 years, since [Johan] Cruyff changed our mentality, the club's history has been changed completely.

"Sometimes it seems we do not remember all this team has done. We can do this, and we can do much more."

Pique acknowledged that conceding an away goal would make Barca's challenge far harder, but said he was confident their attackers could score as many goals as the team needed.

"We have had five years with people shutting up shop against us, we know how to deal with it," he said. "Milan are a specialist at this.

"We need to open up the pitch, move the ball very, very quickly, take advantage of the surface and big Camp Nou pitch. The chances will come.

"When you see the players we have up front, we are sure we will create a lot of chances to score."

He said Barcelona were "more than capable of scoring four" if they needed to, adding: "If this team is missing anything, it is not goals."

And he added that although he felt some of the recent criticism of the team had been over the top, there would be no excuses if Barca did not progress to the quarter-finals.

"We are 13 points ahead in La Liga. Madrid knocked us out in the Copa del Rey semis, which can happen to any team," he said.

"It is difficult in the Champions League, but we have a chance to go through. Our season has been phenomenal. We are not trying to shut anyone up, we want to qualify for ourselves and for our fans.

"We will have no excuses. The pitch will be perfect, the fans will be with us - we must go for it with everything. We have been criticised, and this team will respond."

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