Barcelona begin their quest for the coveted Champions League crown when they welcome PSV to the Camp Nou in the opening round of the group stages on Tuesday.
Barca’s La Liga title defence has gone off without a hitch so far after winning the opening four games of the new season.
However, the Spanish champions will be concerned that they conceded early goals against Huesca and more recently Real Sociedad.
There has been no shortage of goals for Ernesto Valverde’s side, with Lionel Messi (4), Ousmane Dembele (3) and Luis Suarez (3) leading the way early on.
The Catalan giants have exited Europe’s elite club competition at the quarter-final stage in each of the last three years, after lifting the trophy in 2015.
— PSV International (@psveindhoven) September 17, 2018
Blaugrana fans will be expecting nothing less than a win first up, but Valverde believes the Eindhoven outfit have the tools to hurt the hosts if they aren’t switched on.
“They are the Dutch champions and are used to taking the initiative,” the Spaniard told a news conference.
“I don’t see them changing that. Most teams want to maintain their style. They will want to attack and we are going to have to defend well against them.
“We try to play the same way every game and we will try to do the same again tomorrow.
“They have some very talented wingers, especially on the left. They have some very good full-backs as well, and we have to deal with that regardless of who plays for us.”
New PSV manager Mark van Bommel has made a positive start to his tenure, picking up five wins from five in the Eredivisie to top the table.
The Dutch champions have been amongst the goals in the new campaign, thrashing Willem II 6-1 and ADO Den Haag 7-0 in their last two league outings.
They saw off BATE Borisov in the qualifiers to book a place in the Champions League proper, and Van Bommel has no plans to park the bus against his former team.
Speaking to the press on Monday, he said: “There are people who say that if you go to Barcelona and you only lose 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1, you did a good job. But that’s not our goal and if you’re going to think like that you’d be better off staying home. Once or twice a season there’s a surprise.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 17, 2018
“We could change our game plan but I think we’d better improve our plan A, which means we won’t have to resort to plan B.”
In team news, Sergio Busquets and Philippe Coutinho are set to be restored to the starting line-up after being rested against Sociedad, while Malcom is back in contention having recovered from injury.
However, Denis Suarez and Sergi Samper remain on the treatment table for Barca.
Van Bommel has close to a full-strength squad at his disposal, with only Ryan Thomas unavailable for selection.