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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Stars missing as Barca aim to overturn 3-1 defeat

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola will again be without the majority of his eight World Cup winners for his side's Supercopa second leg at home to Sevilla on Saturday night.

The Barca boss left out Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Pedro, David Villa and Victor Valdes from his starting line-up for the game in Seville last Saturday because the players were nowhere near match fit.

The octet had only just returned to Barca training following extended holidays after their World Cup triumph in South Africa and then jetted off - bar Iniesta - to Mexico with Spain for a friendly just days before the Sevilla match, which Guardiola's side lost 3-1 at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

The eight are now available for selection and Barca look set to field a much stronger side than in the first leg, but Guardiola is refusing to take any risks with his top performers.

"Some of them are not ready to play 90 minutes, but others are because they had been doing working previously,'' Guardiola said. "We need more time for the internationals - perhaps another two weeks.''

Guardiola says he will not use the absence of his Spain stars as an excuse should Barca fail to overturn their 3-1 first-leg deficit.

"If we don't win the Super Cup it won't be because we have had a disadvantage in terms of footballers, but because we haven't done well enough,'' he said. "The players could have only had two weeks rest (and been ready in time), but they deserved their holidays.''

Barca will undergo light training on the morning of the game, with Alexander Hleb, Victor Sanchez and Martin Caceres all involved, even though the three look set to be loaned out before the transfer window closes.

Barca beat Athletic Bilbao 5-1 on aggregate over two legs to win last season's Supercopa, which became the fourth of the team's incredible six trophies in the space of a year, and was followed by the World Club Cup in December.

The year 2010 has already brought a Primera Division title for Barca, while Sevilla claimed the Copa del Rey. And the Andalusians' two most impressive results in that competition came at Camp Nou, where they face Barcelona on Saturday.

Sevilla beat Guardiola's side 2-1 in the first leg in January and progressed on away goals despite losing the return 1-0, before defeating Atletico Madrid 2-0 at the same venue in the final.

That meant a first trophy for coach Antonio Alvarez, who had just taken over from Manolo Jimenez, and the current boss says he is going to Barcelona to bring home another piece of silverware.

"We are going to Barcelona to win and to bring home the Supercopa,'' he said. Alvarez will be without defender Sebastien Squillaci, who could be close to joining Arsenal.

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