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Football: Barcelona considering changes for Depor clash

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura has admitted that Lionel Messi could be rested when they host Deportivo la Coruna this weekend with their Champions League tie with AC Milan on Tuesday in mind.

The Catalans trail Milan 2-0 after the first-leg of their last-16 tie, but despite having such a big game on the horizon and an 11-point lead at the top of the table, Roura insisted it is vital for Barca to get back to winning ways against Depor.

"There is a long way to go in the league and although we have a good lead, we need to keep going game-by-game trying to win," he told reporters on Friday.

"How much time we have to rest between the games influences the line-ups a lot.

"We will speak with (coach) Tito (Vilanova) to see what team we will start with tomorrow and for the Champions League and they could be different.

"We will decide tomorrow if Leo will play against Deportivo or not."

Three defeats in their last four games have led many to doubt Barca's ability to make a comeback against the Italians, but their problems in defence stretch back to early January, with their last clean sheet coming 13 games ago.

Roura is hoping to break that streak against a struggling Depor on Saturday.

"Our intention is always to not concede goals, but in recent games we haven't been able to do so," he added.

"If against Deportivo we don't concede it will be good and give us confidence for the Milan game, but the most important thing is to win."

With Vilanova away in New York receiving cancer treatment, much of the criticism for recent results has somewhat unjustly fallen upon Roura.

However, he insists that rather than being affected by the criticism he is thankful for the support he has received from within the club and will continue to be in contact with Vilanova until he is hopefully fit enough to return to Barcelona.

"I have been here since I was very young and I know how things work.

"When we win there is euphoria and when we lose there is excessive pessimism.

"The criticism doesn't affect me. I have always been very calm and I know the club very well.

"The majority have supported me and I am grateful for their support. We have won a lot of games with this way of working and we will continue to do so until, hopefully, Tito is back with us in the near future."

There was some brighter news for Barca though with the reappearance of Xavi Hernandez at training on Friday morning and Roura is hoping the Spanish international midfielder will be fit enough to take his place against Milan.

"Xavi has re-joined the group today and in the next few days we will see how he feels and if he is able to play," he said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130308/football-barcelona-considering-changes-depor-clash