Real Zaragoza vs Barcelona Preview
Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets believes summer signing Javier Mascherano is still adapting to their style.The Argentina captain started in a winning Barca side for the first time on Wednesday night, when Pep Guardiola's men beat FC Copenhagen 2-0 in the Champions League.
Barca were well below their brilliant best in that match, but Mascherano was quietly efficient alongside Busquets.
He earned the praise of coach Guardiola for his display and Busquets too has been impressed.
"He is a very good player," said the 22-year-old. "He will give us a lot and it's a pleasure to play alongside him.
"He needs to pick up the tactics of the position a little, which is difficult, but with his characteristics I am sure he will adapt quickly."
Mascherano had previously started in the league defeat at home to Hercules and the draws against Rubin Kazan and Mallorca, but finished on the winning side on Wednesday as he completed 90 minutes for the first time as a Barca player.
"He played a very good game - his best one yet, I believe," Busquets said.
Barcelona have struggled for goals recently, with summer acquisition David Villa looking low on confidence, but Busquets reckons the Catalans will soon start scoring more.
"We are relaxed," he said.
"The goals will come. It would be more worrying if we weren't creating chances."
Xavi has been left out of the squad to face bottom club Real Zaragoza at La Romareda tomorrow.
The Spain midfielder has struggled all season with an Achilles problem and appeared only briefly against Copenhagen.
Defender Gabi Milito is also out, but goalkeeper Victor Valdes returns after illness kept him out of the side on Wednesday and youngster Thiago Alcantara is also named in the 17-man squad.
While Barca lie in third place, a point behind leaders Real Madrid, Zaragoza are still without a win in the Primera Division this season and prop up the table ahead of tomorrow's game.
The Aragonese outfit have lost four matches already and drawn the other three in what has been a miserable start to the campaign for the northerners.
Assistant coach Nayim wants more from his team in the game against Barcelona, a side he played for early in his career.
"We have to demand the best from ourselves and give everything for this club," he said.
Defender Matteo Contini may be left out of the side tomorrow after he was expelled from training by coach Jose Aurelio Gay for showing a bad attitude on Wednesday.