Samperio hopes Sevilla wall holds Barcelona

Sevilla midfielder Jairo Samperio insists he and his team-mates will enjoy their trip to the Nou Camp as they plan a rearguard to repel the might of Barcelona.

FC Barcelona players celebrate after Lionel Messi

It is hardly the game struggling Sevilla - who have two points to their name - would have picked as they go searching for their first Primera Division win of the season when action resumes after the international break.

Barca are already top the table after three wins from three and their only home game so far - on the first day of the campaign - was a 7-0 thrashing of Levante.

Accordingly Samperio knows it will not be a day for playing expansive football.

He said: "You cannot compete for possession of the ball when you play Barcelona, so the only possible plan is to sit back, be organised and try and cause them damage on the counterattack, which is their weak point, if indeed they have a weak point."

Nevertheless, it is a challenge which Samperio insists he and his team-mates are relishing.

"The Nou Camp is one of the most difficult stadiums to go to in the league, because of the size of the team and the players they have, but we are still excited about going there and hope we can get something positive," he said.

Perhaps one reason for Barca's strong start to the season is an increased flexibility provided by new coach Gerardo Martino.

Centre-back Gerard Pique believes the new man has brought out different qualities in the team than predecessors Tito Vilanova and Pep Guardiola.

He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "We occasionally tended to exaggerate our possession-based style of play to the point where we were slaves of our own philosophy.

"Now we have Tata as our coach, who has the same football philosophy, but also has other alternatives and that is a very positive thing in my opinion.

"If you are under pressure, there's nothing wrong with a long ball every now and then. That changes the game and could give you some rest and oxygen.

"You have to keep improving and developing in football or you will become predictable."

Barcelona reported no injuries among their returning internationals and will be boosted by the form of star men Lionel Messi and Neymar, who both shone for their respective countries.

Full-back Dani Alves and midfielder Sergio Busquets are both back in full training after missing out on international football through injury, while club captain Carles Puyol is close to fitness.

Defender Puyol has been out of action for six months after undergoing knee surgery.

For Sevilla, Germany midfielder Marko Marin has recovered from an injury and is expected to play against the Catalans, but Argentina international Diego Perotti is a doubt because of a calf problem.



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