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01.10.2008 23:53

“It is undoubted that Messi is special and decisive”

Vanessa Forns

Guardiola highlighted Lionel Messi’s contribution after the player scored twice in FC Barcelona’s victory in Donetsk against Shakhtar as well as picking out other players for praise that also played key roles in the vital Champions League encounter.

“We already know what Messi is capable of doing,” the coach explained. “But it was not only him. We also have Iniesta, Bojan or Xavi. It is doubtless that Messi is a special player that can do different things and be very decisive.” When asked Messi’s ability to win games as a substitute, Guardiola took an ironic tone as he said that “from now on he will only play for the last half an hour”. “During pre-season we put in some great performances without him. “

“Shakhtar are a great team”

Guardiola recognised that his players did not create as many chances as they have in recent weeks, but at the same time reflected that Shakhtar are “a great team” made up of some “very good players”. “We are speaking about a difficult competition like the Champions League,” he added.

A misunderstanding

Messi’s first goal, that drew Barça level in the 87th minute, saw the Ukrainaian players protest because they felt that the Blaugrana had not kicked the ball back when a player was down injured. On that subject, Guardiola said that his side had continued “because the ball had been cleared”.

“I do not think that we have been unsporting because this happen,” he continued. “I think it was just a misunderstanding. I understand that they said that their player kicked the ball out, but we thought that he was just clearing it.”

Thinking about Atlético

Barça play their next game on Saturday when Atlético de Madrid visit Camp Nou in the league. Guardiola looked ahead to the match and said that his team will play the match “after making a long trip” and assured that they would go out “to attack”. The coach added that “we hope that the stadium will be full”.

“It is undoubted that Messi is special and decisive”
Back in training on Thursday

The first team will return to training on Thursday afternoon after Guardiola informed the players that they will be expected at 17:30 to begin preparing for the game on Saturday. Lionel Messi is the player that will appear in the press conference.

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