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20.05.2009 13:43

“Barça reflects Guardiola’s philosophy”

Berta Brau / Vanessa Forns

Alex Ferguson has praised Barça’s performances this year – “a great season” - and at the same time highlighted the role of manager Pep Guardiola: “The team reflects his philosophy of football”.

Many people in the world of football have expressed their admiration for the job done by Josep Guardiola in his first season as manager of FC Barcelona, especially after securing the Kings Cup and the Spanish league titles. On Wednesday, Man U manager Alex Ferguson joined the growing list of admirers.

The importance of defence

Speaking at the UEFA Media Open Day press conference in Manchester, Ferguson referred to the Guardiola factor and highlighted the importance given by the young Catalan coach to his defence: “When a prestigious former player becomes a manager, the formula usually works. Guardiola has had a great season as the two titles he has won demonstrate. Barça reflects Guardiola’s philosophy of football. With him Barça has improved a lot in defence and that has made everything change”.

No penalty shootout

Alex Ferguson is convinced that it will be “a great final” and doubts that it will end in penalties. He believes that the style of the two teams will combine to produce a “fantastic final”.

Ferguson confident

However, while he admits that FC Barcelona is a great team made up of players with “incredible talent”, he is convinced that Manchester United has “a winning team”. He revealed that he took a long hard look at the semi-final tie against Chelsea: “I learned from the Chelsea match. They thought they were unbeatable and they weren’t”.

Iniesta and Henry, two “very different” players

At this stage it remains unclear whether Guardiola will be able to count on Thierry Henry and Andrés Iniesta. Ferguson declined to choose which of the two players he would prefer not to have to face in the final: “They’re two very different players and so they represent different threats. Henry is different from other players, really explosive and we’ve known about him for a long time. Iniesta makes Barça tick. He’s instrumental and moves the ball around very well”. As for who will replace Abidal, Ferguson believes it will be Sylvinho because of his experience.

Evra will mark Messi

Finally, Ferguson confirmed that Patrice Evra will mark Lionel Messi, just as he did in last season’s semi-final: “He did it very well before. Messi is very fast and needs someone who is also fast. We will have to fight against many factors because playing against Barça you’re presented with many dangers”.
“Barça reflects Guardiola’s philosophy”
“Piqué is a winner”
It will be a special match for Gerard Piqué, who will come up against his former team-mates: “He’s a great player, a great professional and a winner. I’ve always believed in Piqué’s qualities. I didn’t want him to go but I understand his desire to return to Barça”.

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