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30.09.2008 18:23

“Another big test against Shakhtar”

Vanessa Forns

Although the fact that the first team has won four games in a row indicates that things are on the right track, Pep Guardiola wants to put the past behind him, knowing that Shakhtar will be another big test.

Speaking in his press conference on the eve of the game with the Ukrainian club, the Barça manager has commented on how important it is to get a win to put them in a strong position in the group table. “We have another big test on Wednesday” he said. “And a huge opportunity to make a big step towards the second round. We have to remember that not winning in the Champions League can penalise you heavily.”


DONETSK_x2x.jpgThe football first team has won on its last four outings. Once in the Champions League and three times in the domestic championship. But Guardiola is keeping clam and reminded listeners that, especially in the league “a few days ago we were in the relegation zone … it is better to be prudent. The past belongs to the past. We know where we are going and that we need to persist.”

Two key games

Guardiola was speaking about both the games Barça must face before the international break, and about how important both encounters are for their futures in both competitions. “Now we have to play two important matches before the break for different international commitments. The game on Wednesday is the priority for now, and is crucial in terms of qualification for the second round of the Champions League. The game on Saturday against Atlético Madrid is basic for getting closer to the top of the league.”

Maximum respect

DONETSK_x8x.jpgThe Barça manager was giving nothing away regarding the side he might put out on Wednesday evening and also commented on Shakhtar Donetsk’s strength going forward. “I have enormous respect for Shakhtar” he said. “They are a very attacking and daring side. We’ll have to be very careful, because it is always difficult at their ground. But we know how they play, I know their players well, they have a high level and we’ll be trying to do them damage.”

Goalscoring chances

The problem with Barça of late has been that despite creating loads of chances, they are struggling to covert them into goals. On this issue Guardiola said “getting goals is the most difficult bit … the most important thing is the good football and great team spirit we have. We have to persist in ensuring we do things well. With our strikers, we’ll manage it.”
“Another big test against Shakhtar”
“We hope it never happens again”
Guardiola also spoke about the debate that has been going in the press in recent days regarding responsibility for the events at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys on Montjuïc. The manager was plain with his words, saying “a lot has been said about who is responsible, and these are five or six actions that could have caused a lot of hurt and destroyed some families.” Guardiola reiterated that he hopes nothing like this ever happens again, and also that “Spanish football has been a role model for many years in this sense.”

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