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22.08.2008 11:20

Valdés: “Guardiola has not surprised me”

David Puig

Víctor Valdés is about to start his seventh season as a Barça player and is as excited as ever at the prospects. Speaking to Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat the Barça keeper analysed the team’s expectations ahead of the new campaign.

Optimistic and demanding, ambitious and prudent, Víctor Valdés is a man who likes to taker risks as long as there is also some control, and above all is aware that hard work and sacrifice are the keys to meeting the challenges that lie ahead.

The season is over. On Tuesday you are playing Wisla in Krakow and ten days later the league starts. How do you see the team?

VALDES_04.jpgVery good, I think. We have started a very positive season in many ways and the results are what we wanted. Now what we want is to get into the Champions League by winning the game we have left against Krakow and then we can start thinking about the first league match.

The team has had a good preseason. You are winning games and the way you are playing is enthusing the fans.

There is a new trainer and it is normal for a trainer to want to impose his philosophy and style of play. Guardiola’s been very clear from the start about what he wants from us and it is bearing fruits. I think the team is playing very well and is achieving the things it wants.

Are you surprised by Guardiola?

hibernian-fcb1.jpg"Not much. Those of us who are from here knew him as a player and a person and knew that he likes to win, that he knows the club well and that he wants Barça to play attractive and sometimes effective football. It has come as no surprise to me".

Tactically, the team is once again putting on a lot of pressure, with a highly advanced defensive line. Does that mean more risk for the goalkeepers?

"One of the things the manager wants is for the goalkeepers to play a bit more like sweepers behind the defence. That means we have to concentrate for the full 90 minutes, more than before because at any moment you might have to make a run of several meters out of the area. This involves a certain risk but I think it will work well".

It is a risk, but does it imply greater attacking capacity?

"Yes. We have seen that during the preseason. The team has put intense pressure on the opposition practically throughout the 90 minutes. That is explained because the line of defence plays very forward, we play more in the opposition’s half and so the team is supported in attacking zones".

What do you think of Juan Carlos Unzue staying on as the goalkeeping manager?

entreno180408_x9x.jpg"It is always nice for people to whom you owe so much to be at your side. I have always said that Juan Carlos Unzue has been a companion that has been at my side at all times. And now he is staying there. He helps me a lot and we always work hard to improve".

What do you think about the fans being so enthusiastic about the team even though you have just gone two seasons without any titles?

"The people are enthusiastic because of what they have seen of the preseason. The team has been reinforced and the results speak for themselves. The people are excited about the season, and as the manager said on the day of his presentation, our challenge is to win over the fans again by winning titles".

This season there are ten players in the first team that are products of the club’s own system, almost half the squad. What does it mean to you to have been educated at La Masía?

fiore-fcb_x10x.jpg"I have always said that it is important for home grown talent to be in the first team. That encourages them to keep working hard because they could be promoted to the first team at any moment".

You are a role model for youngsters. What do you think about that?

"It is an honour to have young people admiring you. Yes, I am now one of the veterans in the team but that does not mean I have excessive responsibilities. In this team, the goalkeeper is always going to be a responsible position. I am used to that and am looking forward to this new challenge".

When Jorquera is passed fit, there will be three first team goalkeepers and more competition. Do you think this will improve the goalkeeping?

100808entrenament_x9x.jpg"I think so. Competition means you can’t afford to relax at any time. As well as the competitive spirit each player has, I think competition for places is always good for the team".

During the presentation of the team, Josep Guardiola said to the fans “Tighten your seat belts, we’re going to have fun. Do you think that’s what this season will be like?

"The basis of football is to have fun but it is still just a game. But I always want to win whatever happens. I don’t care if I enjoy myself or not. At this club it is winning that counts".

Valdés: “Guardiola has not surprised me”
Not underestimating Wisla
4-0 in the first leg against Wisla has many people thinking the job has already been done. Valdés knows about Barça history and the unpleasant surprises that have come about as result of counting chickens before they were hatched. “We are the first not to be too confident. I think it will be a difficult game even though we have a great first leg result behind us. I am sure all will go well but I also know it won’t be easy to beat Wisla”.

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