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03.10.2008 14:44

Guardiola: “The players deserve a full stadium”

Anna Segura

The FC Barcelona manager believes that given the way the team has been playing in recent weeks, for the game against Atlético Madrid they deserve nothing less than a full house at the Camp Nou.

Josep Guardiola will not be announcing his squad until after the Saturday training session, but has said that after all they have achieved in recent matches “the players deserve a full stadium”. As Guardiola says, with the Camp Nou filled to capacity “we are stronger”.

Goals in store

Guardiola says “hopefully it’ll be a game with goals and that’s a good enough reason for people to come to the stadium … they will see a good game involving two teams that will want to go out and get goals.”

Direct opposition

031008entrenament.jpgAtlético Madrid travel to Barcelona in seventh place and just a point behind Barça, so this game involves two direct rivals in the table, the visitors being, in Guardiola’s words, a side that “has players that can challenge for the title.” In Saturday’s game he will have his eye on “their two strikers, who are very dangerous, and their wide men.” The ‘mattress makers’ are a strong opponent, and Guardiola does not think it is only his defence that will have to be on the alert because “defensive duties are not exclusively a job for defenders.”

Although Atlético “is a team that historical bases its game on the counter attack”, Guardiola reckons that “recently they’ve been more of a team that likes to dominate possession.”

The Messi-Agüero duel

031008GUARDIOLA_01_x3x.jpg“I think Messi is better, although Agüero is very good” said Josep Guardiola when asked which of the two Argentines he’d rank higher. But he knows Kun Agüero is the man to be stopped and that his team “will have to know where he moves and dominate the game to make sure he plays as little a part as possible.” But Guardiola also made it clear that “when I look at Atlético I don’t only look at Kun, I look at the whole team.”

Josep Guardiola does not think “our team depends so much on Messi”, and has always maintained that “we shouldn’t put all the burden on his shoulders. But we are very lucky to have him.”

Late wins

Guardiola has also noted that Barça have recently been winning games in the final minutes where “we could have lost as easily as we won.” He cited the two examples of the games with Numancia and Racing, which could have been won in similar fashion.

Nevertheless, the manager is extremely positive about the way that “after it went to 1-1 we kept on attacking”, saying that wins like these “give us more strength, and the way in which they happened too. But even though we have won those games, it is not to say that the group is already decided.”
Guardiola: “The players deserve a full stadium”
Positive views
Josep Guardiola is not worried that the few times their opponents attack, Barça have had a habit of leaking goals. “Teams attack us very little and I see that as a virtue and not a handicap. We have to make sure teams carrying on attacking us so little because in the long run we’ll benefit from that.” He was of a similar opinion regarding goalscoring opportunities, for he believes it is important that such chances are being created.

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