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19.10.2008 22:11

Guardiola stresses value of Bilbao win

Vanessa Forns

Josep Guardiola stressed the importance of the win at San Mames - a ground he recognized as “mythical” and which is traditionally a tough place to visit against a home side whose traditional direct style makes things even harder for visitors.

Speaking to reporters after the 0-1 win, Guardiola insisted: “we know that when you come here you have to play well and go all out or else it’s very hard to get a win. It’s impossible to win at San Mames if you aren’t strong in the tackle, aggressive and dominant in the air, If you are not careful about those things they’ll just roll over you, because they are strong and young and aggressive, What’s more, this time round they’ve had fifteen days to prepare for us coming”.

Praise for Bilbao

Guardiola was also full of praise for Caparros’ young team: “Bilbao are a team who have never gone down to the second division and many times that’s been down to their pride and self belief. They’ve got some good players and if you’re not on your toes when you play them, they can create a lot of problems”.

“Brave “performance

As to his own team, Guardiola reckoned they had been “brave” but also “not brilliant”, admitting “you are always going to find it hard at a ground like this, even when you’re winning”, whilst insisting “I value this win much more than the one over Atletico Madrid”.

Víctor Sánchez

The boss was also happy with the performance of Víctor Sánchez, explaining: “he’s a player I know very well and I have a lot of confidence in him. He played well tonight and although I was thinking of bringing him off in the second half, he’s such a strong lad I decided to keep him on”.


With three players coming out of the game with injuries, Guardiola reckoned: “this week, with the international games and this evenings match, we’ve lost a lot of players, but I’ve got a strong squad available and I’m not too worried”.

Messi misses out

Lionel Messi has also been away with Argentina over the last fortnight and Gua:rdiola explained that this was why he’d left him on the bench for the San Mames game: “he’d been away for 10 days with the change in time zone and all that implies, so I decided for that reason to leave him on the bench and not use him in the end”.
Guardiola stresses value of Bilbao win
“Valdes’ quality is not in doubt”
Tonight’s game was the first time Victor Valdes had kept a clean sheet in the league this season and Guardiola reiterated his faith in the keeper: “his quality is not in doubt. He’s a keeper who really suits our style of play. Today he made some great saves in the first half – there’s no debate about him at all”.

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