Pep Guardiola is worried about Shakhtar Donetsk, which he qualifies as a great side. He is also worried that people are getting too excited about their strong league position and a theoretically beatable opponent in the Champions League.
“People aren’t saying much about Shakhtar and are saying the league is over”. But
the manager doesn’t think Wednesday night’s game will be easy at all and confessed at
his pre-match press conference that “I don’t have a good feeling about this.” He
feels people are celebrating wins before they have been achieved, but going eight points clear of
Real Madrid doesn’t mean the season is over.
“We still have to beat them”
But Guardiola has no complaints about his players. “I believe in this team a
lot” he says. “But we still have to win things, and nobody is giving anything anyway
… we need to play a good game or the tie could get complicated … I’ve already
told my players we have to do well because it will be much more dangerous when we have to go
Guardiola added that “if we take our feet off the pedal against Shakhtar, they’ll
walk all over us”.
Guardiola fourth meeting with Shakhtar
This is the fourth time Barça have faced Shakhtar Donetsk since he has been in
charge. The first encounter was in the 2008/09 season, in the UCL group stages, and then they met
in August 2009 in the European Super Cup Final. On the latter game in Monaco, which Guardiola has
been watching again over the last few days, he said “we were the fair winners”.
Danger of a relative unknown
The FCB coach demands the utmost respect for Lucescu’s side, saying
“they are a very strong opponent who have improved in recent years … it’s a great
side, a super-team, they’re aggressive, they defend well and work likes animals …
they’re a top side and that’s why they’re in the quarters, and that’s why
they walked all over Roma and came top of their group ahead of Arsenal”.
He also spoke in defence of Dmytro Chygrinski, who is returning to Barcelona after
representing the club last season. “People have looked down on Dima in a very rude way”
Role of the fans
Guardiola also had a word for the fans. “We can’t go far in big
competitions on our own. We can only win big tournaments like these if we have everybody’s
help … The players feel it when their people get behind them. When the stadium’s full,
we’re much stronger, we play more intensely”.