By Nik Brumsack
Laura Harvey is targeting Champions League glory ahead of her team’s glamour tie with Barcelona on Wednesday.
The Ladies travel to the Mini Estadi for the first leg of their round of 32 fixture with hopes of emulating the 2007 Arsenal side that lifted the trophy when it was known as the UEFA Women’s Cup.
Harvey’s team have reached the semi-finals in each of the last two years, and the manager is determined to go one step further this year.
“Our target is to win it. The last two years we’ve got to the semi-final and it’s been disappointing that we haven’t taken that last step of getting to the final,” she told Arsenal.com.
“This year we want to change that. We want to get to the final and the fact it’s in London in 2013 is an even bigger incentive for us.”
Like Arsenal, the Spanish giants are domestic champions, and Harvey wants her team to leave themselves in a strong position for next Thursday’s return leg at Boreham Wood.
“We travel on Tuesday and play on Wednesday so we get a little bit of a breather after Sunday’s game,” she said.
“We just want to make sure that we get ourselves in a good position in the away leg, so that when we bring them back to Boreham Wood, we can hopefully progress into the next round, which is the priority.
“In the last couple of years, we’ve learnt that going to Spain is quite tough. We have to get ourselves into the best possible position going into the home leg.”
Arsenal’s involvement in the Champions League, coupled with a Continental Cup final appearance and the climax of the Women’s Super League season, means the squad have to play six games in just over two weeks.
Defender Steph Houghton can’t wait to take on Barcelona, and insists the Ladies have a strong enough squad to deal with the fixture congestion.
“Playing in the Champions League is a highlight of your career and to play against Barcelona is going to be something special,” she said.
“It’s going to be exhausting. Laura Harvey knows she’s going to have to rotate the squad and give players a bit of a rest. We’ve got strength and depth in the squad - whoever plays will do a job.”
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