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17.05.2009 22:13

Guardiola: “It was the players who did it”

Vanessa Forns

At his first press conference since Barça mathematically became League champions, Guardiola says it is the players who have done the job.

The Barça coach has achieved the double in his first season in the First Division and has a chance of winning what would be the third European Cup in the club’s history, yet he remains humble and says that Barça’s success is because of its players. “The only reason is the talent and commitment of the players,” he said. “I’m sure that with other players we wouldn’t have won the League. Yet with a different coach they might have done so. The key is their talent, humility and appetite for hard work in every single game.”

“Football is about footballers”

“Football is about footballers,” he argued. “We coaches set out the rules, some ideas and get them to follow them. All the rest is them, just them.” He said that in his view the squad had done “a great job”.

Match analysis

Guardiola congratulated Mallorca “on their excellent second half of the season”. As for the game itself, he noted that in spite of not having controlled the ball as much as they would have liked, “we still had chances”. “I have no complaints about the team’s performance,” he said. “Maybe we didn’t play as well as we might have done, but we did have chances. Plus we lost the ball a lot which meant we didn’t have that much continuity. Some of the guys haven’t played that much this term and today they did and I have no complaints at all.”

About Eto'o

One of the main figures in the game at the Ono Estadi was Samuel Eto'o, who scored Barça’s goal only to miss a last minute penalty. “He didn’t seem worried to me,” commented Guardiola. “We’d discussed him taking free-kicks and penalties beforehand. He scored a great goal and had more chances but Moyà was great today. I’ve got nothing to reproach him for. He’s scored goals and will continue to score goals.”

Congratulations for Real Madrid

Finally, Josep Guardiola had some words of praise for Real Madrid: “I’d like to congratulate Madrid because they’ve made us dig deep. If it had been another team we would probably have wrapped it up before now. What they’ve done in the second half of the season is a lesson for us for the future”.
Guardiola: “It was the players who did it”
“I don’t want to take any risks”
Once the League was in the bag, Guardiola decided to take quite a few Barça Atlètic players to Mallorca. The manager is aware that the first team needs to rest before the Champions League final in Rome on 27 May: “We wanted to win the League as soon as possible so we could switch off a bit and be ready for the final. It’s a lot better to have won the League now”.

Given the importance of the game against Manchester United, Guardiola has announced that players who are regular first-team starters won’t be playing again until the final: “My idea is that lots of players won’t play until the final in Rome. I don’t want to take any risks, especially bearing in mind our injury list”.

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