English clubs scare us, admits Touré

Pete Jenson
Tuesday 25 February 2014 05:39
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There is a phrase in Spanish football which roughly translates as "winning without messing your hair up". Barcelona have been doing it all season – sweeping all before them without a strand out of place. But one doubt remains: have they actually faced really strong opposition yet?

Only Real Madrid have stayed with them in La Liga, and in Europe they have avoided both English and Italian opposition. The Ivory Coast international Yaya Touré knows the Chelsea test will be much sterner. Brother to Arsenal's Kolo, and minder to Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta in Barca's three-man midfield, Touré is wary of the different challenge Premier League opposition will provide.

Asked if he was scared of English football, he admitted: "Yes. They are very strong physically. It's the country with three teams in the semi- finals and, for me, that's to be expected. Right now they are the best, and it's up to us to battle against the three English sides. In many ways, Chelsea are the worst opponents for us.

"You know that they are going to line up across defence, midfield and attack, with players of the very highest level. They are very powerful physically, which makes it more difficult, but we have to stand up for ourselves and make sure we win the home leg."

Touré is not relishing being on the opposite side to Didier Drogba, the man whom he usually lines up alongside on international duty. He said: "He is my colleague in the national team and a big friend of mine away from football. He's someone I call and speak to a lot.

"He's a phenomenal forward, up there with Samuel Eto'o and probably the best in the Premier League. It's the first time I've had to play on the opposite side to him. I'm usually happy to have him on the same team. Right now he's their best player."

One man definitely not worried by the physical test Chelsea will give Barcelona is the club's Brazilian full-back Dani Alves. He said: "The key is that we all work. Our first defenders are our attackers. That's one of the most important facets of our game and we have to maintain that. The pressure we put on teams is intense. We have the talent but we also have the attitude."

Barcelona's attacking right-back has weighed in with countless assists for the side's front three and he is convinced John Terry and company will have no answer to a forward line that has outscored most of the top European teams. He added: "The truth is that when Eto'o, [Thierry] Henry and [Lionel] Messi are committed and focused, when they are on their game they are unstoppable."

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