Villa: More to come from Barca

BY foxsports • February 4, 2011

David Villa insists Barcelona can still get better and believes Pep Guardiola's side will go on to mark an era in world football.

Barca have already won back-to-back Primera Division titles under Guardiola and completed an unprecedented - for a Spanish side - treble of league, Champions League and Copa del Rey titles in the coach's first season in charge.

And that could be on again this year, as Barca are still in the Champions League, lead Real Madrid by seven points in the Primera Division and face their bitter adversaries in the final of the Copa del Rey in April after both sides progressed to the showpiece game earlier this week.

"The best is yet to come," Villa told www.fifa.com.

"The coach has managed to assemble a group of players with some very special characteristics, who've adapted and gelled perfectly - I think we have what it takes to define an era."

On a personal level, Villa says Guardiola has had an important effect since his arrival at the Nou Camp in a big-money move from Valencia last summer.

"He's been a very positive influence. The coach's instructions on attacking and defending are clearly vital, and he helps me a lot," he said.

Although a centre forward, Villa has been played on the left this season to accommodate both Leo Messi and Pedro in Barca's attacking line-up, but the player says he is comfortable in his new position.

"I feel at home and perform equally well in the centre or on either flank. I'm very pleased to be getting along so well," he said.

Villa was rested, along with the likes of Messi, Xavi, Pedro and Victor Valdes, as Barca thrashed Almeria 3-0 on Wednesday to advance to the final of the Copa del Rey with an 8-0 aggregate victory.

All the talk now in Spain is of the first final between Spain's big two since 1990, but midfielder Javier Mascherano says Barca must forget about that meeting for now.

"If we are thinking about the final, we will have problems in the other competitions," he said.

Mascherano started on Wednesday, but is set to return to the bench as Guardiola names his strongest possible line-up for the Primera Division clash at home to Atletico Madrid tomorrow.

Villa, Messi, Pedro and Xavi will all return, while Andres Iniesta is set to overcome a minor injury to be fit for the 22nd round match.

Captain Carles Puyol could also return from injury, but Jeffren Suarez misses out.

Barca have dropped just five points in the league all season and have scored 14 goals in their last three matches at home to Atletico.

The Madrid-based side, in seventh place, are also going through something of a crisis following disappointing defeats against Athletic Bilbao and Sporting Gijon.

Nevertheless, midfielder Fran Merida says Atletico can produce a surprise.

"We have had a difficult week, but the manager (Quique Sanchez Flores) has been giving us his ideas and although Barca are a strong side at home, we have great weapons, great players," he said.

"We can win the game."

Luis Perea is suspended after his contentious red card against Athletic, while Mario Suarez is doubtful.


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