Xavi: Barcelona Seeking Semi-Final Payback

Xavi is hoping that Barcelona can show they are a better team now than the one that lost to Manchester United last season...
Barcelona are a different team from the one that lost in the semi-finals of last year's Champions League to Manchester United - and they are better prepared, according to Xavi.

The Catalan midfielder hopes that the Blaugrana can pay the Red Devils back after they edged a closely-fought two-legged encounter a year ago to reach last May's Moscow final.

Xavi is looking forward to the game in Rome, but while he thinks that it will be exciting, he is only concerned about the outcome at the end.

"Manchester United beat us in last year's semi-final of the Champions League, but now things are different. Things have changed and we're prepared to win the trophy," he told Sky Sports.

"In finals only the score matters. If we win it doesn't matter if we don't play well because fans only remember the champions, not the runners-up.

"The key to winning the final will be ball possession. Barca will not be able to dominate United without possession as it will allow them to counter-attack."

Andres Iniesta and Thierry Henry are to undergo late fitness tests before being told whether they can play or not, but Xavi is confident that the pair will be ready.

"I'm finally convinced that Henry and Iniesta will play in Rome. We need the help of my team-mates and I believe they'll be fit to play in the match," he added.

Lucas Brown, Goal.com