Barcelona coach Quique Setien has called for a morale-boosting victory over Levante on Sunday as a platform to help cure his side’s poor away-day form.
Barca’s travails on their travels has undermined the defence of their LaLiga crown this season as they have already lost four games on the road, collecting just 15 points from a possible 33.
Following the game with struggling Levante at the Nou Camp, Barcelona then face two significant away dates as they take on Athletic Bilbao in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey in midweek, and then Setien’s former club Real Betis next Sunday.
“We’ve got two big away games, but we’re going to worry first about tomorrow’s game,” Setien told a press conference.
“But certainly our away form is something we need to work on. We need to change our flow away from home.
“We need to work out what it is we are doing right at home and wrong away, and we’ve got two games we can work on that.
“They’ll be two very intense games, and a win tomorrow would be a huge boost for morale going into those two fixtures.”
Although Barca face a Levante side that have lost their last three LaLiga matches to slip to 13th in the table, Setien knows they are comfortably capable of causing an upset.
“They’re not having a very good run of results,” assessed Setien, whose side showed a return to the kind of form for which they have become renowned with a 5-0 thrashing of Leganes in the last 32 of the Copa del Rey.
“They’re coming to play a team that I understand is playing well. I think generally it was a very good game the other day. There are some things we need to improve on, but we will try to show the real situation of our team.
“They’re an uncomfortable team to play against. They can cause you danger, a team we really have to worry about because they’ve really strong forwards, they play the ball around very nicely. If they’re inspired then they’re very hard to play against.”
Levante have won three of their last four home matches against Barcelona, yet have failed to win at the Nou Camp on their last 12 visits.
Coach Paco Lopez knows his side will “have to do the perfect things” if they are to cause an upset.
Speaking at a press conference, Lopez said: “Throughout the season there are few teams able to win or get something positive (at the Nou Camp).
“We must be ourselves and not let the opponent dictate things. They are a team with talent and resources, but if we do things well, we’ll have our opportunities.”
Setien remains without three key players through injury in Ousmane Dembele, Neto and Luis Suarez, while Arturo Vidal is a doubt.
Lopez could have Enis Bardhi available again after the midfielder missed the 3-1 midweek Copa del Rey defeat with a knock, while new defensive Bruno Gonzalez could come into the equation following his arrival this week from Getafe.
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