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13.11.2008 15:46

Pinto, safe hands in the cup

Vanessa Forns

José Manuel Pinto has become Barcelona’s regular goalkeeper in Copa del Rey matches. In the two games he has played so far this season against Benidorm, he has kept clean sheets.

José Manuel Pinto donned the gloves for just the second time in an official match this season on Wednesday night against Benidorm. Until now, Josep Guardiola has entrusted the Andalusian with the position in Copa del Rey games, and the gamble is paying off well. Neither in October 28’s game in Benidorm nor in the return this week, was the Barça keeper beaten.

Always ready

QM3D4314.jpgBoth at Foietes and the Camp Nou, Pinto and his defence kept at bay everything a highly determined Benidorm side sent their way. Speaking to Barça TV, the keeper reviewed one of the most dangerous moments of Wednesday night’s game, when he was forced to produce his very best in the 18th minute. “It was a free kick from the edge of the area that Castell struck well. I had to stretch to get the ball away, and I managed to touch it onto the post”.

Understanding on all levels

José Manuel Pinto said it was important to get the chance to “enjoy some time on the pitch and feel like a player”. But he also feels that the clean sheet was merely an anecdote, and preferred to comment on “the great job the whole team is doing in defence … It looks like we are managing to form a squad that understands each other in every sense, up front and at the back, and that’s the most important thing of all”.

Guardiola’s role

fcb-almeria_x7x.jpgPinto is the perfect example of that understanding even though he is not getting much opportunity to show that to the fans. He feels Guardiola has a lot to be thanked for. “We are all very excited but keeping our feet on the ground, staying prudent, and it’s the boss who is getting us to feel that way. Every player feels valued by the manager, and we are all very aware that the season is long and that we will all be needed”.

Next opposition

Asked who he would like to meet in the next round of the cup, Pinto said “there are no easy opponents. The cup is a competition all the teams consider prestigious and that we all want to have a go at. Any of the teams we could be drawn against will be hard”.
Pinto, safe hands in the cup
Improvement on last season
This is definitely proving to be a better season for José Manuel Pinto than 2007/08, when he played only three games, all in the league, and in which the side, managed at the time by Frank Rijkaard, won just one game and lost the other two.

The first was his debut away to Deportivo (2-0) in the 34th game of the season. He also played in goal for the last two games of the season. At the Camp Nou he was in the Barça side that lost 3-2 to Mallorca, and in the final game of the season, he was involved in the 5-3 win at Murcia.

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