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Gaby Cairo / PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB

This Thursday evening(20.00), FC Barcelona will play their first game in the Final Eight in the European League at Lodi in Italy against Oliveirense. After winning the Spanish League and Cup double, Cairo believes that European success would : “really round off this fantastic season for us and put the icing on the cake”.

Dangers of Oliveirense

However, Cairo warned: "It won’t be easy to get through this competition. We are taking Thursday’s game very seriously - aiming to play our own game from the off. We mustn’t forget that they are from a country who really go for this sport and they have had a very good season in Europe this year. They are a dynamic and pacey team who counter attack very well. They have their own style – very much in the Portuguese way. They defend well and we will have to try and impose our controlling game on them”.

The coach also claimed that travelling to Italy with the league title already won: “is the best thing for us. The players go into the end of this European League, knowing that they have already put in a good season with an attractive style that has brought in many more fans to the Palau, which really makes us proud”.

Great attitude

Should the team win the European title, Gaby Cairo will repeat Guardiola’s feat of winning the treble in his first season in charge and the coach admitted: “the only comparison for me is in the players – they are the best and I am clear that if we work together as a team, it’ll be hard to beat us. They have shown the maximum motivation from the first day and we have been able to approach every game in the best conditions”.

Since making the league title mathematically certain with their win against Calafell, the team haven’t played and Cairo warned: “we’ll maybe be a bit short of game time at the start, but it has also been important for us to have a rest period at the weekend and finished with the pressure of the domestic competition. Over the last few days we have been working on improving our technique and some specific tactics, both of which will be a great help at key moments”.

Panadero ready

Gaby Cairo confirmed that he would be able to count on Sergi Panadero after recovering from his operation for his broken finger: “he’s fit and ready – he trained with the rest of the group last week. I have no doubt that he will be a most important piece for our team”.


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