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Barca clash: Martinez mounts pressure on Azeez teammates

Granada's Nigerian midfielder Ramon Azeez in action against Real Madrid


Super Eagles midfielder Ramon Azeez and his Granada teammates have been told to rubbish their record against Barcelona in Sunday’s La Liga clash playing at the Nou Camp notwithstanding.

Granada coach Diego Martinez who gave the charge regretted that Granada have never beaten Barcelona at the Nou Camp, adding however that it is one record that must not be allowed to remain.

“The beautiful week ahead of us is a motivation,” said Martinez, well aware that Granada have never won at the Nou Camp.

“Barcelona will force us to do things that we do not want to do. It is a challenge of maximum difficulty – we know the statistics and we want to turn it around,” he said

Azeez who was in action for 85 minutes in the team’s Copa del Rey clash leading to Sunday’s league match, ironically got a yellow cards in the match as well as the league tie against Mallorca preceding it.

Meanwhile newly appointed Barcelona coach Quique Setien will take charge of his first match with the side on Sunday night as they host Granada.

The 61-year-old is in the unusual position of taking over a side top of the table at the mid-point of the season, having been named as the replacement for Ernesto Valverde who was shown the door after a disappointing December which allowed Real Madrid to move level on goal difference.

Granada coach diego martinez

Setien who believes that both the coach and players must be enthusiastically on the same page to achieve results, only two days ago organised a dinner for players and staff of the club to strenghten the bond.

Setien’s appointment was announced on Monday, giving him a full week to work with his players before their first match.

“The first week’s gone well,” Setien told a press conference. “Much better than I expected. When you come to a new team there’s always uncertainty about how they’re going to respond. There’s always a stimulus from the players, you see they are very keen because of the change.

Barcelona new coach Quique Setien begins action against Granada on Sunday

“I’ve been really surprised by the players and how accepting they are of a coach’s new ideas.”

Setien said change would take time but that he hopes the impact is already apparent in Sunday’s match against a Granada side who have climbed to 10th in the table.

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