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15.03.2009 23:52

Guardiola: "Our strength is having the ball"

Vanessa Forns

Josep Guardiola believes that FC Barcelona's victory against Almeria on Sunday evening came about thanks to the strength of his team when they had possession in the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos.

The Blaugrana coach stated that his team were better after the break than they were in the first period when he felt that the side "did not move the ball around well". He continued: "In the first half, the Almeria goalkeeper was extraordinary, while the little lad - referring to Bojan - allowed the team to be calm. We moved the ball around a lot better after that and we were very good positionally too. That is our strength; having the ball. Almeria have not lost at home and have scored in each game in their own stadium under Hugo Sánchez, so we have done very well."

Euro effect

The players went in to the game on the back of a testing encounter in midweek against Olympique Lyonnais that saw the team qualify for the quarter finals of the Champions League. "Despite coming from a testing game, we felt that we controlled the game," Guardiola continued. "I am very pleased with the way that we played. It is clear that everybody had to give a little bit extra to secure the win."

Bojan’s performance

The headline maker of the evening for Barcelona was, undoubtedly, Bojan and the coach was pleased for the young forward. "I wanted to play him because I felt that he deserved it," Guardiola said. "He is training very well and today he has scored two goals and it is clear that when he has a chance he can score. That will do his morale a lot of good. April looks set to be a difficult game and we will need everyone."

When asked about the other players that have not played much this term, the trainer added: "All the players deserve to play, but I can only choose eleven to start and three to come on."

Greater advantage

"Without any doubt we would like to have an even greater advantage at the top of the table while Real Madrid would like to see us have less," Guardiola said about the current six-point gap between first and second in la Primera. "We do not know how to play any other way other than to look to win and I am very pleased that we have one that."

Improving things

"During certain games we stopped doing certain things that had come automatically, but despite that the will was still there. We have worked on the defence and we have improved and will continue to work hard," Guardiola added.
Guardiola:  “Our strength is having the ball“
Laporta: "We are first and the team to catch"
After the 0-2 win against Almeria, the Barça president, Joan Laporta, stated that "with respect to every team that we play we should be only concerned about ourselves," he said. "We must worry about ourselves. We are on top and the team to catch. We have to continue playing with the same spirit and humility that the team is currently showing."

Laporta the stated that six-point difference between Barça and Real Madrid is "an important gap", but does not "mean anything is certain". He continued: "It is important that we continue to add points." On the game against Almeria, the president explained that the players "did well to take all the three points against a very good side.

Congratulating the players that were given a chance to shine, Laporta said: "It is very positive that all the players have an opportunity. They are all part of the team. We are all pleased when the rotations are carried out the team wins." Reflecting on the handball team's win in the Copa del Rey, Laporta added: "Winning the cup against Ciudad Real makes the club proud. I am convinced it will boost morale."

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