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11.03.2009 23:59

Guardiola: “We’ll go far with this spirit”

Vanessa Forns

Once again, Guardiola has highlighted the fighting spirit of the team has shown match after match, and which this Wednesday helped send Barça though to the next round of the Champions League.

FC Barcelona won a place in the CL quarterfinals on Wednesday night after a convincing 5-2 victory over Lyon in the Camp Nou. Speaking at the post match press conference, Josep Guardiola told reporters: “The players were brilliant in the first half. It’s a pity about the (Lyon) goal in the final minute and the other at the beginning of the second half. All in all, while we weren’t so brilliant (in the second half) we didn’t concede any efforts on goal”.

A long way to go

With the same caution he has displayed all season, the Barça coach enjoyed Wednesday night’s success while reminding everybody that there is still a long way to go in the competition and called on the players to focus on next weekend’s league match away to Almería: “There’s a lot to go. We’re looking at some tough months ahead. With this spirit, all together we’ll go far. We have to work. There’s so much (of the season) left that it’s not worth speculating. We have to recover mentally and physically to go to Almería and win the three points”.

Among the European elite

Barça now joins an elite group of eight clubs in the draw for the quarterfinals on 20th March: “We’re among the best eight teams in Europe. This is a game, a spectacle, and we should be happy because one of the eight best teams in Europe will come to the Camp Nou”.

“Whoever we get it’ll be good”

QM3D1822.jpgAsked about his preferences in the next round, Guardiola revealed: “Now we’ve got Almería. Whoever we get in the draw will be welcome. We’ll study them hard and try and find out their weak points. They’re all very good. There are the four English teams, and I’d also like to congratulate Villarreal. As for the Germans and the Portuguese, they’re historic teams in their countries. Whoever we get it’ll be good”.

The importance of the fans

“I’d like to thank the fans for filling the stadium. People enjoyed themselves again. Obviously we have to make an even bigger effort than up to now. In Madrid they’ll soon forget about the CL and concentrate on the league. Without the help of the fans we won’t be able to manage it. If they give us a hand, we’ll be fighting until the end”.


Finally, Guardiola was full of praise for his players, making special mention of Sylvinho, Henry, and Piqué: “I’d like to single out Sylvinho. I’m very happy for him. Henry’s talent is always there. He helps us a lot and he knows that without the team he isn’t going anywhere. I’m asking him to keep going. Don’t stop. As for Piqué, he’s having a great season. He’s young and has to keep improving”.
Guardiola: “We’ll go far with this spirit”
Laporta: “A match that deserves all the praise it gets”
A delighted Joan Laporta told reporters: “This match deserves all the praise it gets. The fans enjoyed some magnificent football. It’s really great supporting Barça. The Barça fans have enjoyed themselves. Goals are always welcome. The three strikers scored and Keita put the icing on the cake. Whenever we have the support of the fans, the team plays well”. He also had words of support for Lyon: “They showed they are a great team. In the second half they had a lot of the game”.

Referring to possible rivals in the next round, the Club president said: “In order to win the Champions League, you have to beat some great teams. I want (the next opponent) to be a good team and for Barça to go through to the semifinals”.

Asked about the elimination of Real Madrid against Liverpool, Joan Laporta was restrained in his comments: “I don’t wish misfortune on anybody. It’s an important blow to their morale. I don’t know how they’ll react. But I’m focussed on Barça and I’m very happy. All those that have fallen along the way are great teams”. In terms of the Spanish league, however, Laporta believes Real Madrid could benefit from their elimination from the CL: “They’ll be more rested than us because they’re only left in one competition”.

Finally, Mr Laporta dedicated the victory to the memory of Armand Carabén, a former chief executive of the Club who died exactly eight years.

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