Begiristain confident of progressing to semi-finals

The Barcelona's technical secretary is confident his team have what it takes to overcome the Arsenal challenge.

Txiki Begiristain, Barcelona's technical secretary, is confident his team have what it takes to overcome the Arsenal challenge and book their place in the semi-finals of the Champions League. The defending champions face the Gunners in a rematch of the 2006 final and Begiristain is confident his team will again triumph over the Londoners. "The feelings are good," he told his club's official website. "Barca, for budget and organisation, must always be in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. And we are good, with the ability and optimism to get through this round.

"We will see who has possession of the ball, who has control and which of the two is stronger." Barca's famed attack is now the stuff of legend, but Begiristain, a former Barcelona winger, said the defence also deserves credit. "Everyone talks about the good football we play, but also it should be noted that the team defends well," he said. "To be champions of Europe, you must be strong at the back. The balance of the team is almost perfect."

Barca head to the Emirates Stadium on the back of a 1-0 victory at fourth-place Real Mallorca in the Primera Liga on Saturday. Begiristain, impressed by what he saw at the Ono Estadi and in their last Champions League tie - a comprehensive 4-0 demolition of VfB Stuttgart at Camp Nou - wants more of the same from Barca in North London tonight. "In the return leg against Stuttgart, the team took complete control of the situation," he said. "We were shooting against Mallorca and they managed very little, apart from the two shots hitting the post. Otherwise, we generated more chances."

* With agencies