FC Barcelona (4-3) continue their Euroleague campaign on Friday (8.45pm CET) at the Palau Blaugrana against Alba Berlin (3-4) in a game between two direct rivals for a place in the quarter finals. Coach Xavi Pascual says “it’s a fundamental game for us, the result will have a huge bearing on our future in the competition. We will have to play well to win this and we’ll need the fans’ support, so I hope they come out in force.”
“Alba have one of the best defences in the competition” he continued. “They limited Maccabi to 59 at home. They have intense players who test the 24 seconds to the limit, so they’re not necessarily the most attractive of games. We will need to win this game on the basis of aggression and patience”.
The coach also denied rumours in the press that he and Marcelinho had faced off in an argument after losing the Cup Final last Sunday. “We accept any criticism because we’re the first to criticise ourselves” he said. “But what we won’t accept are lies … The only thing I will say about Marcelinho is that he did play on pain-killers. And that’s because he’s so committed to the club. He sets a fine example.”
Alba will be without injured top scorer Jamel McLean, as well as guard Cliff Hammonds for this game, but will be coming with a new signing, centre Jannick Freese. Barça, meanwhile, have a full strength squad, for Pascual has confirmed that Marcelinho’s condition has improved and he is fit to play.