The Basque, who spent almost a decade in Catalunya as a player, spoke to Goal.com ahead of Tuesday's Champions League semi-final second leg against the BluesEXCLUSIVE
By Pilar Suarez
Jose Mari Bakero enjoyed a nine-year stint at Barcelona as a player and featured alongside Pep Guardiola in Johan Cruyff's Dream Team, which claimed the European Cup in 1992.
The midfielder is therefore well-placed to assess the Catalans' Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea at Camp Nou tonight. And the Basque took time out to speak to Goal.com about the crucial clash on Tuesday.
|BARCELONA v CHELSEA PREVIEW
Bakero: Obviously Chelsea won the first leg, but Barcelona had four or five very good chances and two of those hit the post. So I think the strategy from Barca's point of view will be to stick to the same concept. But they simply must be more effective in this match.
Which of Barca's three lines made more mistakes at Stamford Bridge? Was the defence too vulnerable on the break? Could the midfield have done more to open up the game? Were the forwards guilty for failing to take their chances?
Barcelona have had their own structure and a very defined way of playing for a long time now and against Chelsea they did practically everything but score a goal. I don't think they will have many problems at Camp Nou. It's true that individually Chelsea have very good players, but they are veterans now and physically they are likely to suffer at Camp Nou. I don't see anywhere where Barca are weaker than Chelsea.
Which players could be vital for Barcelona on Tuesday? Do you think Cesc Fabregas will start?
I think Fabregas will start and I think Alexis will play in attack. I believe Pep will pick his most experienced players. The other day against Madrid he played two youngsters but I think there were some who weren't fresh physically and that's why he rested them on Saturday. But I think they will play on Tuesday.
Against Madrid, it was an unusual XI from Guardiola. Do you think he was risking La Liga in order to prioritise the Champions League? Or did he just want to rest some players?
A little bit of both. Pep knew that La Liga still depended on Madrid and that Madrid could win the next four games and still win it. On the other hand, there are other players like Xavi, who was replaced during the game, as he wasn't looking too fresh. So he thought about the two games somewhat.
Chelsea and Bayern Munich are two tough teams. Will Real Madrid and Barcelona come through those tests to meet in the final?
Madrid scored away from home and that's a plus for them, because a 1-0 win sees them through and Madrid nearly always score goals at home. And even though Barca didn't find the net, it's still only a one-goal difference. The logical thing in football would be for both to get to the final, but the great thing about sport is that you have to respect your opponent. They have professional players and they have quality, so you have to say they have a chance.