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06.12.2008 23:00

Guardiola: “The team gave a feeling of solidity”

Vanessa Forns

After seeing his FC Barcelona side record an impressive victory against Valencia, Guardiola said that there is more of a “feeling of solidity” each time they play and he played down any euphoria by adding that “it is just another step forward”.

“Strength, desire, dedication and hard work” are the four main concepts that the Blaugrana coach highlighted as vital to his first team in the way that they play. “Whoever plays must give everything, we want to score a lot of goals and they score them,” he continued. “Without all those elements we would not be where we are.” But Guardiola did confess that he was the “first to be surprised” by the way that the team played against Valencia.

Good all over

The trainer was keen to highlight that it was not just up front where his players impressed as it was a “very good game in all aspects, as much in attack as in defence” and with the “highest level shown in every position” although he wanted to remain cautious by adding that “there is sill a long way to go.” Guardiola then continued: “The team gives a sensation of solidity. We have taken another step forward, but nothing more than that.”

Public support

Witnessing the incredible win in the stadium was one of the biggest crowds of the campaign with over 83,000 present and that was something that Guardiola believes helped his side to produce one of their best performances of the campaign so far. “We played for the people and we knew that they went away feeling happy,” he explained. “It is a pleasure to play football in this stadium. To see Camp Nou so full is emotional. We so many people it is much easier.”

Henry delight

Thierry Henry earned the majority of headlines with his hat-trick and Guardiola admitted that he was “very happy” with the performance of the French forward and highlighted the fact that he was “daring” and that “his performance was extraordinary which showed that he is a great player.”

Shakhtar first

Inevitably, the press conference then turned towards next weekend when Real Madrid visit for the first Clásico of the season, but Guardiola was keen to point out the Barça have a game ahead of that when Shakhtar Donetsk visit Camp Nou on Tuesday evening. “There will time to think about Real Madrid,” he said. “For now, this Sunday we will recuperate and begin to prepare ahead of the game against Shakhtar.”

Messi and Bojan

Guardiola then spoke about Lionel Messi, who was visibly affected by his substitution, and for Bojan Krkic who enjoyed the last few minutes of the game. “I did not want him to be hurt,” the coach said about the young Argentinian. “He is very ambitious and always wants to play and that was why he may have been a bit angry when he was taken off.” On Bojan, he added that “he played well. My aim is that they will be here for as long as they want and I understand that he also wants to play more.”
Guardiola: “The team gave a feeling of solidity”
Laporta: “Team play is the key”
Joan Laporta highlighted the “team play” as the key to the recent form of the FC Barcelona first team. “They are a block, a unit, and are working very well,” he explained. “All the players are contributing what they can when they can. They are working for each other and there is a team spirit which is noticeable on the pitch.”

The Blaugrana president congratulated the team for their effectiveness in front of goal, particularly in the absence of Samuel Eto’o, as Thierry Henry came to the fore with a hat-trick. “Not be able to play Eto’o meant that it appeared there would be more effort needed to score,” he continued. “But the team has responded and scored four goals, three from Henry. This is very good for the team and for the player. I am delighted for him because it is something that he deserves for all his hard work.”

With 83,000 supporters in Camp Nou, Laporta praised the part that they played in helping to lift the team and looked ahead to the visit of Real Madrid next weekend. “We will go into the game with desire,” he stated. “If people play like they did here then things should go well. A hurt Madrid could be dangerous. We need Camp Nou to be like a pressure cooker because the team plays better when the fans are behind them. We are doing well and Madrid will come here looking to close the gap on us. It will be very difficult and we will have to remain calm.”

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