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By ESPN Staff

Puyol attempts to heap pressure on United

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol claims the pressure is on Manchester United in Champions League final because the Spanish giants have already surpassed expectations this season. With a new coach in inexperienced Josep Guardiola at the start of the season, Barca have made headlines by claiming the Primera Liga title and the Copa del Rey trophy en route to the top game in Rome.

"We've enjoyed a very good season," Puyol said. "The team has worked very hard and the results we have obtained are proof of that.

"We hope to win and make this season a spectacular one."

Puyol, who returns from suspension to lead Barca on the pitch in his second European final, fully expects United to give them their biggest challenge of the year.

"It's going to be a very complicated game," Puyol said. "We are facing the best team in the world.

"Manchester United are very strong defensively and have players that can make the difference at any moment. We know their players very well.

"But I wouldn't focus on just the attack but on the whole team."

Barca go into the match marred by injuries and suspension but the Spanish international believes that is no excuse for his team not to deliver.

Central defenders Rafa Marquez and Gabriel Milito are out injured while backs Eric Abidal and Dani Alves are both suspended.

"We do have important players missing," Puyol said. "But the team arrives to this game in good form.

"We have great players and everything will be perfect. We have good vibes and we know we have an historic opportunity against a great team. We are optimistic."

For Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes, Cristiano Ronaldo will not be the only threat for him, with Dimitar Berbatov having - like Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney - scored four goals in the competition this season.

"Berbatov is a striker with a lot of quality," Valdes said. "He is very dangerous, especially when he moves inside the area.

"We will have to analyse his virtues and try to stop him in the best possible way, just like any of United's players.

"But I am prepared for anything. It's going to be a battle like any other final."

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