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04.02.2009 14:44

“Mallorca as hard as Espanyol”

David Puig

Guardiola has guaranteed that Mallorca will make things as hard as Espanyol did and that 100% will be required of his players on Thursday. The players are thrilled by the prospect of a first cup final in eleven years.

Barça are on the verge of making the final of the Copa del Rey for the first time in over a decade, and in the semi finals meet Mallorca, fittingly their last opposition in a up final. Josep Guardiola considers that “we have an extraordinary opportunity to play in the Copa del Rey final after coming so close the last three years. I have a good feeling about this team. I think it’s important for us to play well and get a result that can allow us to concentrate on the League and the Champions League rather than worry about the return leg”.

Similarities to Espanyol

04-02-09_WEB_GUARDIOLA_04.jpgGuardiola knows that Mallorca, like Espanyol before, are struggling with relegation, but does not think that they will take the cup lightly just because they are in such a delicate position in the league. “Like Espanyol, Mallorca have nothing to lose and I doubt they’ll throw away their cup chances to concentrate on the league. I’m sure they’ll come to make things hard for us. I expect the very best of Mallorca, a team that defends well and will be looking to break down our defence with fast men like Aduriz, Keita and Webó. I doubt Mallorca will have their minds more on their next league match.”


The pace of the game could be the key. “We have to get the game going to the right rhythm from as early as the warm-up. I sense that Mallorca will play like they did in the league, slowing things down as much as they can. But I think that the tie will ultimately be decided in Mallorca”.

Fans play too

The manager also hopes that the fans will come out in the same kind of force that they did for the previous cup match against Espanyol. “I would like people to remember just how close we are to playing in a final. We can mobilise 30,000 people and get a great party going, but to do that we still have to beat Mallorca. The team will do all they can and play on the attack, and give everything they can to the supporters”.
“Mallorca as hard as Espanyol”

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Puyol progressing well
Guardiola says Carles Puyol is recovering well from his injury, but a Sunday comeback is still very much in doubt. “Puyol is getting better every day, we’ll have to see how he feels on match day. On Saturday I’ll have a word with the doctors and the player and we’ll decide then. But of there is any risk, he won’t be playing” he said.

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