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Football: Barca boosted by fringe benefits, says Roura

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Barcelona assistant manager Jordi Roura was delighted with how some of his side's fringe players performed as they swept aside Real Zaragoza 3-0 at La Romareda.

Two goals from Cristian Tello allied to Thiago Alcantara's opener made it a very comfortable evening for Barca who were without the injured Lionel Messi.

And with manager Tito Vilanova having made six changes from the side that started Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second-leg with Paris Saint-Germain, Roura said the performance underlined how deep their squad is.

"The players have demonstrated that this is a team, today more than ever they have demonstrated that everyone has the necessary quality to be in this squad," he said.

"For me today's game was a difficult one given Zaragoza's position, and without the necessary concentration we would not have been able to take a positive result."

However, Roura refused to accept that it is simply a matter of time until Barca win the championship and said they have to keep going until it is mathematically sealed.

"The result for us is very good, the league is the most basic, fundamental thing for us.

"We have seven games left, 21 points to play for and the league is not mathematically won yet. We will continue to go game by game."

Barca's victory had temporarily opened up a 16-point gap at the top of the table, but Real Madrid ensured their lead returned to 13 points as they won 3-0 away at Athletic Bilbao.

A wonderful Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick gave Los Blancos the lead just two minutes in and Ronaldo was on target again with a headed effort 20 minutes from time before Gonzalo Higuain rattled in a third five minutes later.

It was the final time Madrid will play at San Mames as Athletic move to a new ground from next season and with the home players roared on by a fervent support, Ronaldo was on the end of a few rough challenges.

However, Real assistant boss Aitor Karanka saluted his player's reaction throughout the game.

"Football is for men, especially in San Mames, and Cristiano has shown that in an adverse atmosphere for him the type of player he is," he told a press conference.

Madrid boss Jose Mourinho had named a surprisingly strong line-up given the Champions League commitments in the coming weeks for his side, with Sergio Ramos starring in his old role at right-back.

And with Alvaro Arbeloa suspended for the first-leg of Madrid's semi-final with Borussia Dortmund, Karanka accepted that the Spanish international could easily line-up there against the Germans.

"Sergio Ramos is an option at right-back. He played there for a long time and in the absences of Arbeloa and (Michael) Essien it is obviously a possibility he will play there against Dortmund."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130414/football-barca-boosted-fringe-benefits-says-roura