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20.01.2009 14:30

Guardiola wary of Espanyol

Jesús Carrillo

Josep Guardiola is not convinced that either Espanyol’s league position or the fact that they sacked their manager Mané on Tuesday are reasons to believe Barça will have an easy ride against Espanyol on Wednesday.

The fact that a former Espanyol player, Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino, is on the bench for the home side is an added concern for Guardiola.

”We don’t know anything about him. I’d have preferred it if Mané had stayed a week longer, because we had been studying the way the Espanyol side works. Now the payers will be going all out for it, more aggressive and keen to impress their new manager. I expect a strong Espanyol, very aggressive and much more dangerous”, he said.

Changes ahead

20-01-09_WEB_GUARDIOLA_01.jpgGuardiola has said he still has some details to think about so “I won’t decide on the team until we train on Wednesday morning. I am sure there will be changes to make, but we won’t be making any decisions before Wednesday”.

Another aspect worthy of consideration is the fitness of his squad. “The players are fine and the people in charge of this area have told me they are in perfect condition to deal with all three competitions”, he said.

Hoping for no repeat

Naturally there is concern all around that there might be a repeat of the unpleasant scenes on the terraces when Espanyol and Barça met earlier this season. “This is a game and so the people that go to Montjuic should be going there to enjoy the football, that’s why we are going and the Espanyol players too. I am sure the security staff will do a good job and will deploy the right measures to prevent the same things from happening that we saw in the league match. I don’t think it will happen again” he said.

Espanyol’s situation

20-01-09_WEB_GUARDIOLA_03.jpgGuardiola also commented on Espanyol’s troubled situation. “I am not convinced by Espanyol’s position. They will be highly motivated for an Espanyol v Barça match, it’s different, especially for them. I am sure they will try to play a good game and get a good result”, he explained. He added that they are still a first division club and specifically on the new coach Mauricio Pochettino, Guardiola said “I wish him all the best. He was a great centre back, a very officious player and I am sure he’ll do a good job on the Espanyol bench”.


Guardiola also spoke about good fortune. “Luck counts and is very important. You can do the same things and the ball doesn’t go in, because football is so unpredictable. The important thing is to find the right dynamic, but I am not sure what percentage of football results come down purely to luck.”
Guardiola wary of Espanyol

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Alves and Messi
The connection down the right between Alves and Messi is making the Barça manager a very happy man. “They are good, they’re talented, they’re intelligent” he said. “And both of them are ready to get better. With those elements, it’s only normal for them to be providing the benefits they are showing in every game”.

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