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14.01.2009 23:51

Guardiola: “I hope it’s a good derby”

Vanessa Forns

After beating Atlético Madrid to qualify for the quarter finals of the Copa del Rey, Guardiola said that he is looking forward to playing Espanyol in what he hopes “will be a good derby”.

Once again the Barça manager was impressed with the spirit shown by his squad. “This spirit is the only thing we can’t afford to lose” he said. “We all feel part of every game in every competition, that’s a good thing, knowing that we have to keep taking things game by game, and that we can’t start relaxing yet”.

“A pleasure to play Espanyol”

Next up in the cup is a clash with local rivals Espanyol. Josep Guardiola is relishing the challenge: “It is a delight in itself to play against Espanyol. It’s a derby and I prefer that. Espanyol are a good side and have some good home grown players, and they deserve al our respect. I hope it’s a good derby, and very different to the last one we had”.

Good not to travel

There is of course one other major advantage of the next round being a derby. As Guardiola explained, “this match-up means we don’t have to travel for the quarter finals, and that’s a very positive factor and will help keep us fresh”.

Quality opponent

Speaking specifically about the match he had just seen at the Camp Nou, Guardiola commented that although the team had been “generally very good”, Barça did “lose some of the control in the first half”. But he added that “we mustn’t forget that we were playing Atlético Madrid, a team in the Champions League, and we should only have expected to face problems”.

Zone defence

Tonight FC Barcelona let in yet another goal from a dead ball situation. Guardiola admitted that “we have to improve the way we defend set pieces”, but also insisted that he will still use a zone defence in such situations “because that’s what the players feel most comfortable with”.

Cáceres, Bojan and Iniesta

Asked about Martín Cáceres, the manager had to confess that he had spotted “a couple of errors”, but “in general he played very well”. On Bojan, he said “he played with very clear ideas and participated a lot. He is working very well and gradually getting better.” Finally, on Iniesta he adamantly stated that “he can play wherever he likes”.

Thanks for support

Josep Guardiola ended his intervention by thanking the fans that had arrived in such numbers for a midweek fixture “despite the cold, the time and other circumstances.”
Guardiola: “I hope it’s a good derby”
Laporta: “The quarter finals will be difficult”
Joan Laporta was more than happy with Barça’s win against Atlético Madrid, and subsequent qualification for the last eight of the Copa del Rey. The Barça president commented that the visitors “never gave up at any moment” and said what most pleased him was to see that the fans that came to the Camp Nou “enjoyed themselves”.

Moving on to the next round of the knockout tournament, where FC Barcelona will be meeting Espanyol, Joan Laporta has no doubt that “it will be a difficult game. Barça v Espanyol is always an exciting match and we expect the utmost sporting rivalry in that game.” Laporta also said it offered the chance “to reinitiate cordial relations” with their neighbours.

Finally, Joan Laporta again praised Josep Guardiola for all the good work he is doing at the helm of the first team, and especially the way “he makes everybody feel important”.

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