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26.09.2008 14:30

Guardiola: “I have always liked derbies”

David Puig

Josep Guardiola believes that it is not by accident that Espanyol are flying high as he looked forward to an intense derby against a side that is defensively strong.

The coach also recognised that there will be more than just three points at stake as everyone in Catalunya will be watching.

The amount of interest in the encounter means that it will not just be another league match for Barça or Espanyol when the two teams take to the pitch on Saturday evening in the Estadio Lluis Companys on Montjuïc and Guardiola is looking forward to it. “It is a match for everyone to enjoy,” he stated. “The two presidents have been measured in their comments. Now the whole city and everyone outside will be looking on. I have always liked derbies and it was always a special thrill to play in them, especially in their previous stadium in Sarriá where there was a great atmosphere. Also, in Camp Nou, where we almost always won.”

Espanyol are very well organised

During the press conference on Friday afternoon, Guardiola looked at the strong points of Espanyol and the good start that they have made to the new season. “They are a team that is well organised in defence and they play a direct game going forward,” he explained. “Their midfielders do not participate much in the game but they do help with the second balls. They are a team that allow the opposition very few chances and, for that reason, they are very difficult to beat.”

Tamudo and Luis García

QM3D8354.jpgEspanyol’s club captain, Raúl Tamudo, is back in the squad and will play alongside Luis García in attack. Guardiola believes that the duo must be watched. “We have to be very careful with those two,” he stated. “Tamudo has scored a lot of goals for Espanyol and Luis García is one of the best forwards in Spanish football. They have a lot of mobility and they are very direct when going forward.”

Improve in attack and defence

Guardiola then explained that he is happy with the way that his team have been playing, in particular in their last outing in midweek against Real Betis. But the coach is still conscience for the need to improve certain areas, with the drop in intensity on occasion in matches one of those to be looked into. “Sometimes we have problems controlling games and at the start of the second half we have trouble switching back on,” he said. “That is a problem with the mentality and is also a tactical thing that I have talked to the players about and that we are looking to deal with. We also have to be more effective when presented with chances in front of goal as well as improving in defence. Despite that, I do not think that there are no teams that create as many chances as we do or maintain the same intensity for 90 minutes.”

Guardiola: “I have always liked derbies”
Family time on Saturday
Guardiola was keen to explain why the players will not stay together after training on Saturday ahead of the game, as is now the norm. “The game is very late and it would mean spending many hours in the hotel,” he explained. “I would prefer it if the players were at home with their families. We have a lot of games coming close together and I would prefer things to be like this on Saturday.”

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