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25.11.2008 20:12

“I want positive things against Sporting Club”

Vanessa Forns

Although he knows how important it is to win their Champions League group, Josep Guardiola is particularly interested in seeing some positive things from his players in Wednesday night’s game against Sporting Lisbon.

Josep Guardiola made it clear that he does not think FC Barcelona’s season depends in any kind of way on the way they perform in the Portuguese capital. “I don’t think it is our most important game until now” he said. “The preliminary game was, because without that we wouldn’t even be here. Tomorrow’s game is another chance to show we are a good team, and we’re taking things as seriously as we should. We’re coming here to win because that’s our duty to the shirt we wear”.

He added that they have come to Portugal to play a good game, and that finishing first or second will depend “on the way we play”. Guardiola also said that his main intention was for the team “to play well, be ambitious and search for goals … I want positive things.”

“Both teams have done their job well”

With two games yet to play, both FC Barcelona and Sporting Lisbon are already assured places in the second round draw. “Already being qualified at this stage is very fortunate, it means that both us and them have done our jobs well” said the Barça manager.

Utmost respect

25-11-08_WEB_GUARDIOLA_02.jpgAsked about Wednesday night’s opposition, Pep Guardiola is aware that they are up against a very strong team with some outstanding individuals. “If we examine both squads player by player, it is clear that they are both top quality. Their manager, Paulo Vento, orders them well as a group.” On one particular player, Moutinho, Guardiola said he admired his versatility because he is the kind of player “that can play in any of the four midfield positions.” One thing is for sure, to beat Sporting, Barça are going to have to “put in a very good performance”.

Messi might play

A lot was said about the way the team seemed to be missing a vital ingredient last weekend without Lionel Messi on the pitch. The Argentinian has travelled to Portugal because his manager says “there is a chance he will play … he is a very important, decisive player … Did we draw the other day because he wasn’t there? No. I can say with conviction.”

Playing as a group

No player is more important than the team as a whole. “Leo is a very important player, and the whole squad knows that. He knows he helps us a lot, not just through his football but because of his attitude. He knows he can’t do it on his own but that we are stronger with him. To play well, we need everybody. But if he was so important I would never have let him go to the Olympics. And we had a really important game back then. But of course, over the year there are going to be injuries, and we have to protect our players”.

Puyol with pubis trouble

Puyol was left out of the squad, and Josep Guardiola said the reason was “small problems with his pubis”.
“I want positive things against Sporting Club”

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Difficult December
December is going to be a tough month, as Barcelona have to play their most direct league rivals, but Guardiola doesn’t think it is as decisive a period as some people are making out. “It is a mistake to look too far ahead in football. We have to take things day by day, little by little. I am sure that these games won’t decide anything. Experience tells me that we win titles in the last few games. Our objective and obligation is to get as far as April and May with a chance to win the tournaments we are in. We are still at the growth stage”.

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