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26.05.2009 20:53

Guardiola calls for courage and audacity

David Saura (enviat especial)

Pep Guardiola is demanding courage and audacity from his team in Rome - in other words that they stay true to the style of play that’s brought them such success this season.

Guardiola turned his pre-match press conference into a ringing declaration of intent, revealing that he’s asking his players to show the same character and style that they’ve exhibited in this season’s previous 61 games.

There was clearly no worry about nerves or the big game affecting Barca’s commitment to going forward as Guardiola insisted “they (Manchester) know that we’ll attack. We have to show what we’ve done this year and play as we have been all season”.

United happier in defence

Guardiola knows that his team need possession: “if they are half an hour encamped in their own box, they are quite happy with that, but if we are stuck defending right in front of Victor then that shows something’s not working right. They are better than us at that type of game. We know we have to have good possession and a solid defence – if they attack, they can attack well, they know what they are doing. They can dominate all over the pitch”.

The Barca boss, who also again insisted that the players he’ll be missing on Wednesday can be no excuse, expects United to come out on the front foot too: “if they are defending, it’ll be because we’ve forced them to do it with our attacking style of play. I don’t expect them to sit back and defend. If we are not at our best, they will attack us and cause us problems”.

“Match of the season”

26-05-09_WEB_BARCELONA_05.jpgAlthough Guardiola admitted that fear can often serve to fire a team up, he doesn’t want his players to be afraid: “we’ve shown we have courage and we’ll do the same again tomorrow. There are some very small changes for this game, but in essence our game is to build from the back, keep possession…. This is the match of the season”

Iniesta and Henry

One thing Guardiola wouldn’t be drawn on though, was who’ll be playing at left back tomorrow, Keita or Sylvinho, though he did confirm he’d be counting on Iniesta and Henry after their recent injuries as well as on Leo Messi, a player he reckons: “is the best in the world”.
Guardiola calls for courage and audacity

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Dead ball risks
Guardiola admitted that one of his team’s weak points could be defending dead ball situations, given the type of player Barca’s style demands: “we’re not a big team - Andrés, Xavi, Leo...” and accepted that: “the game could turn on a dead ball situation, we have to defend strongly”.

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