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26.10.2008 11:55

Josep Guardiola’s starting ‘XIV’

Marc Guillén

Barça manager Josep Guardiola wants to make use of his entire squad, and as he recently said, he approaches games with fourteen players and not just his starting XI in mind.

In every game this season Barcelona have used up all their three substitutions, and save on two occasions the players who come on have had at least fifteen minutes game time. The exceptions were against Spor ting Lisbon , when Sylvinho came on in the 88th minute, and Wislaw Krakow , when Hleb made his appearance in the 84th minute.


gijon-fcb1_x13x.jpgIn most games the first substitution comes more than half an hour before the end, the second with more than twenty minutes to go and the third with over 15 minutes left on the clock. This pattern was repeated against Almeria , when Guardiola took off Touré in the 57th minute, Henry in the 64th and Alves in the 72nd. Guardiola’s substitution policy is another demonstration of the confidence he has in all his players.

Almost all have started

Guardiola has put all his players – except for goalkeepers Juan Manuel Pinto and Albert Jorquera and the injured Gaby Milito – in the starting XI for at least one of Barça’s twelve competitive matches this season. “I do it because I have a lot of faith in them,” he says. “Obviously some play more than others but that’s to be expected. That way we give players the chance to rest and make sure everyone’s ready to play.”
Josep Guardiola’s starting ‘XIV’
La Masia makes its mark
A quick look at the statistics for time on the pitch shows the importance of Barça’s academy for Guardiola’s team, as the ten players who’ve come out of it account for 51.6% of total match minutes. They’ve also found the net on sixteen occasions, thus scoring more than half the side’s goals.

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