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04.10.2008 23:58

Guardiola: “We are stronger when the fans are behind us”

Vanessa Forns

Joseph Guardiola was visibly delighted with FC Barcelona’s emphatic victory against Atlético de Madrid in the Camp Nou on Saturday and was keen to thank the fans for the positive effect that they had on the players.

“I want to thank the supporters,” he said. “I would like the people to know that we are stronger as a club and a team with them behind us. The players go out on to the pitch feeling lifted and much stronger and they play better. I am pleased because we have had a very good game in front of a full stadium. We want to make it clear that we play for the supporters and not only for ourselves.”

Playing with intensity

During the half-time interval, Guardiola wanted to ensure that his players continued their great performance despite already being 5-1 ahead and insisted that they kept played. The coach revealed that he told his side that the people in Camp Nou wanted to see them play for 90 minutes, not only 45”. He continued: “We have achieved our mission and we always want to play with the same intensity.”

On game more

After Barça had performed so well and chalked up their sixth consecutive victory in all competitions, Guardiola insisted that “it is only one game more”. But he then stated: “It is a good sign and was a great performance that should help us convince ourselves of what we can do. The league is very long and there is a long way to go still.”

Recognising Xavi and Iniesta

Xavi Hernández was substituted for Seydou Keita in the 74th minute and Guardiola explained his decision. “Xavi deserved it because he has had no rest,” the coach stated. “He plays at a very high level. It is a fact that he never changed and so the public never have a chance to applaud him. Today was the day. I had to choose between him and Andrés because I could only make one more change. The two of them help us so much.”

“Messi has been marvellous

Lionel Messi had another impressive performance and Guardiola wanted to compliment the Argentinian. “Leo was marvellous,” he said. “He really wanted to play and was very happy and that was evident out on the pitch. He is a really decisive player.” According to the trainer, Messi, along with Iniesta, Eto’o or Gudjohnsen “had a very good dynamic”.

Deserving credit

Guardiola then reflected on Javier Aguirre’s Atlético de Madrid team: “We should not forget that we have played a great team that have been playing in the Champions League and had some injuries,” he explained. “We saw two teams that wanted to go out win the game and these things can happen. Aguirre’s approach deserves credit, but we were strong and we scored the goals to make the difference.”
Guardiola: “We are stronger when the fans are behind us”
“We have to continue playing with humility”
Joan Laporta showed his happiness after the 6-1 victory over Atlético de Madrid but at the same time appealed for “humility”. “This is our Barça and we have confidence that the players will continue working because nothing has been achieved yet and we cannot sit back. We have a team with a lot of talent that has incredible possibilities.” He also valued the “strength and hard work” of the team that he said has “a great quality”. The president wanted to avoid giving “excessive compliments” because “there will be plenty of time for this”.

On Atlético de Madrid, Laporta said that they had “played with incredible sportsmanship”. “The games against them are always fun. It was a great game against a great side. I think that Atlético de Madrid did not have any options because we went 0ut and gave everything from the first minute. There was only one team out there tonight.”

Reflecting on the events to send the message against violence, the Barça president said that Pep Guardiola’s team “had scored six goals against violence”. The public showed a great public spirit,” he continued. “I am very proud of the supporters that we have, they are role models. We should promote values of public spirit, tolerance and friendship.”

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