Pedro: Barca can still improve

Pedro: Barca can still improve

Published Apr. 1, 2011 1:28 p.m. ET

Pedro has backed Barcelona to keep improving ahead of Saturday's La Liga clash at Villarreal and says their ambition remains as strong as ever.

The two teams meet in the league in a crunch clash at the Bernabeu later in the month and also cross swords in the Copa del Rey final, while a Champions League semi-final encounter also awaits if both negotiate their respective last-eight ties - Barca against Shakhtar Donetsk and Madrid versus Tottenham.

Those matches are likely to define the season for both sides, but Pedro says Barca are ready for the challenge.

"We are very ambitious as a team. We want to win trophies and we want to continue our development," he told in an interview.


"You can always improve with the team. There are tactical things, finishing in front of goal, speed as well."

Barca won the treble of Primera Division, Copa del Rey and Champions League in Pep Guardiola's first season in charge and retained the Spanish title last term.

But the Catalans fell short in Europe, losing out to Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan side in the semi-finals.

"Inter played a very good match, defensively, with many players behind the ball, and it's difficult to deal with the (limited) space you have," Pedro said.

"There have also been matches this season where we've had to deal with this."

And the 23-year-old believes his side must learn from those games in order to get the better of teams - like Madrid - who are likely to adopt such tactics in future.

"We have to overcome that system," he said. "We need to use the space well and play the ball around quickly.

"We must try to learn from these games, because in the future we'll have many teams playing like that against us."

Nevertheless, the Tenerife-born forward says Barca are in good shape as the season reaches its climax.

"I think the team is (looking) very good and hopefully we can achieve something beautiful again this year," he said. "But it's still early - it's hard to say."

Barca beat Mourinho's Madrid side 5-0 when the sides met at the Nou Camp earlier on this season and club president Sandro Rosell caused controversy on Thursday by boldly predicting a repeat of that scoreline in the Copa del Rey final.

"I bet on a 5-0 in the cup final, so as not to lose the habit," Rosell said.

But Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta played down the words of his club president.

"I would be content with a 1-0 win," he said. "What the president said is simply an anecdote - let's hope we can get back to talking about football again tomorrow."

The Barca coach claimed to be hugely impressed by the Yellow Submarine after a 3-1 win for his side at the Nou Camp earlier this season, claiming Juan Carlos Garrido's team were one of the best in Europe.

Guardiola will also be without two of his key players on Saturday.

Captain Carles Puyol is working his way back from injury, but is set to miss out once more, while Xavi is suspended.

Eric Abidal is also out as he continues to recover from an operation to remove a tumour on his liver, but Lionel Messi has been passed fit after suffering an injury scare while away on international duty with Argentina.

"Messi is a spectacle - watching him is a luxury," Villarreal winger Santi Cazorla said.

But despite Barca's attacking prowess, the Spain midfielder says Villarreal will remain true to their own football philosophy.

"We have to be ourselves and try to match them," he said. "We won't change our style and we'll try to have possession of the ball - that's very important."

Brazil striker Nilmar has recovered from injury and will be fit to face Barca.