Guardiola expected to rotate at Zaragoza

Guardiola expected to rotate at Zaragoza

Published Apr. 6, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is expected to rotate his squad for Saturday's Primera Division trip to Real Zaragoza.

However, opposite number Manolo Jimenez does not believes it will make his side's task any easier.

Barca will be looking to keep the pressure on leaders Real Madrid as the La Liga title race enters its final eight games with the two giants of Spanish football separated by six points.

Both clubs secured their places in the semi-finals of the Champions League in midweek, but the challenge facing Jimenez's squad is a very different one.


Zaragoza currently lie in the relegation zone in 18th place, but a run of three straight wins has boosted their survival hopes and moved them to within four points of 17th-placed Villarreal.

Barcelona are without Gerard Pique after he suffered a thigh injury in the victory over AC Milan, with Adriano set to start and Carles Puyol likely to move into the center of defense.

The likes of Seydou Keita, Thiago and Alexis Sanchez may also be handed starts, but Jimenez says such is the quality of Guardiola's squad, the XI he fields will scarcely be any weaker than that which faced Milan.

"All I can ask is that they are not at their best on the day and we all go out and compete and let people see that the team gives everything it has," he told a press conference.

"It is clear that coaches want to use their entire squad, but Barcelona are a team that have no problems rotating their team because of the resources they have.

"Even before our good run this is a game that everyone thought we would lose so we have to be realistic.

"But I have loved the improvement our players, they have shown a lot of joy in their training and that has been translated on to the pitch."

Should Barcelona find the net twice at La Romareda they will break their previous best record for goals scored during a season while Guardiola has been in charge.

The Catalan club moved to 157 for the current campaign against Milan, their previous best under Guardiola is 158 from the 2008/09 campaign.