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“We’re playing for the league on Saturday”

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29.04.2011 14:34

Guardiola: “We’re playing for the league on Saturday”

Vanessa Forns

Josep Guardiola hasn’t been distracted. On Saturday, Barça can go a big step further to the league title at Anoeta, and the coach guarantees that his players’ only concern is that game.

Guardiola: “We’re playing for the league on Saturday”

He didn’t want to answer any questions with respect to next Tuesday’s Champions League semi final, because for him right now, the league is the “absolute priority. We have to be very aware that much of the league title depends on what we do at what is always a tough ground. If we don’t focus our five senses on that, we won’t do it. Tomorrow we’re playing for a competition that lasts 11 months. It was hard against Almeria, against Osasuna, and I sense this game will also be difficult. Mathematically we are seven points away from the league title and every win means a huge step”.

Additional effort

2011-04-29_ENTRENO_07.JPGHe went on to say that “we have to find strength from wherever, we know that if we win we’ll practically be there”. He is asking his players for a special effort, but “they know that we are playing for the most important title of the year, one which shows regularity, effort and work, and that makes you feel the proudest. With the league title so close, there is no such thing as distractions. These three points can take us nearer to the title. At this point, there is no such thing as either physical or mental tiredness”.

Not letting go

Guardiola said that after Anoeta, Barça host Espanyol, and he would rather go into the derby with the same lead they have now. “Playing the derby with an 8-point lead would be comforting. It is the competition that we are most excited about and I don’t want to lose it through our own fault, or for us to do that because our minds are on other things. If we win tomorrow, the job is almost done”.

Support for the Board

2011-04-29_ENTRENO_65.JPGAsked about the official complaint issued by the club against Real Madrid and José Mourinho’s accusations in his post-match press conference at the Bernabéu, the manager said: “I can only support the decisions of the Board of Directors. I defend my institution. I have always been supported by the club’s directors. I have never felt alone or unprotected.”


Asked about the next opponents, Real Sociedad, Guardiola said “they are a similar team to that in the first match. They’re enthusiastic. They’re an intense team, who play well down the wings. In Tamudo they have a striker who always scores goals and they have some local players that will want to make sure their team stays in the first division”.

Four names

2011-04-29_ENTRENO_68.JPGHe ended by mentioning four specific players. Puyol has not been picked so he can get some rest. Messi has taken a couple of knocks and didn’t train on Friday, and so “we’ll have a look on Saturday and make our evaluation … but I don’t want my players to reserve anything because of things we have to do in the future”. Sergi Roberto, who is in the squad, he described as having “strength and a promising future”. And as for a possible return of Abidal, Guardiola said “I’d never play him unless there was a 0% chance of any risk”.

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