Pep Guardiola is only going to Madrid to look for a win and doesn’t think the eight-point lead means they can afford to speculate.
The day is here. The first of four clásicos in just 18 days kicks off on Saturday night. Pep
Guardiola is only thinking about this game and not about ways of dealing with the four games with
Madrid in some kind of global fashion. “I’d like to speak to the manager from 1916 to
know what you have to do in situations like these, because I’m not really sure”, he
said, jokingly referring to the last time there was such a flurry of clásicos in such a short space
Time to win
The FC Barcelona manager is ambitious about the trip to Madrid, and is not resting
on the laurels of an 8 point lead. “We are in the situation where you can lose everything in
just one week … you can never go to the Bernabéu thinking it wouldn’t matter if we
didn’t win.” Neither will he rest any players, because “it’s too important.
We are playing for too much. We’re playing for the league and if we can get a good result
it’s a giant’s stride towards the championship … I still get the feeling that if
we want to win this league we’re going to have to win at the Bernabéu”.
Praise for Madrid
Pep Guardiola has been hugely impressed by what he has seen of Mourinho
and his team since they lost to FCB 5-0 in November. “They are better than they were in the
first half of the season. They have often been better than us … they are a very powerful,
strong team.” But he added that his own team “is one of the best in terms of positional
play, because that’s the essence of this team.”
“Mou has the virtue of knowing how to play lots of different ways” said the
Catalan, referring in particular to the European semi final between Barça and Inter. Guardiola
added that to beat the all-whites “we’ll have to be very attentive and learn to
Shortly before the press conference, it was revealed that Carles Puyol is fully fit
and will be travelling to Madrid. “It was a nice surprise for us. He’s feeling no pain,
he’s getting no trouble and there is nothing stopping him from moving”.