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09.12.2008 23:59

Guardiola: “I can’t complain”

Vanessa Forns

Despite losing at home to Shakhtar, Guardiola was pleased with the way his players performed and said he has no complaints about what he witnessed on the pitch.

The starting eleven was an unusual one on Tuesday night against a Shakhtar Donetsk side that proved more effective in front of goal, nevertheless, the Barça manager said “I liked a lot of things tonight. We played a good game and I have to congratulate my men, they put in a lot of effort.” But Guardiola did admit that “we lacked precision up front”.

“We did enough not to lose”

The Barça manager was disappointed, because naturally “I don’t like losing. We made an effort and did enough not to lose, we played well”, he said, and added that “I can’t complain”, especially having faced a team that “plays very good football and caught us out on the counter attack … there were moments when we couldn’t string together more than three or four passes”.

Schuster sacked

Although they had just played a European encounter, many of the pressmen in the room were more interested in issues relating to Saturday’s clásico with Real Madrid, who Guardiola knows “are always a dangerous opponent” but that he is more concerned with “worrying about ourselves”. Therefore he preferred not to speak any more than he had to about either the sacking of Bernd Schuster or his replacement Juande Ramos: “It’s Real Madrid’s decision. There isn’t much for me to say. It’s not worth judging whether or not it was a good move.”

Objective: winning

Guardiola said he has the “utmost respect” for the all-whites, and did confess that this week he will be taking an in-depth look at the kind of tactics Juande Ramos likes to use. “A new manager will mean a lot of new things. We’ll be watching their game with Zenit and also looking at videos of when he managed Sevilla”. But he still thinks that “it will be a tough match, and our only aim is to win it, by attacking, without speculating, and being ambitious”.

No easy games from now on

Back to the Champions League, and we already know the names of two of the teams FC Barcelona can meet in the next round, namely Inter and Chelsea. Guardiola commented that “having reached this stage, everything is bigger. We can be drawn against some very tough teams and we’ll be looking forward to the draw on the 19th and then we’ll evaluate things”.

Going for youth

Guardiola also reiterated the value of Bojan in the squad, a player he predicts “will be important in the future.” On Víctor Vázquez’s Champions League debut, the Barça manager said “he is a very talented player and I’m very satisfied with him”.
Guardiola: “I can’t complain”
Laporta: “Any defeat hurts”
After losing 3-2 to Shakhtar at the Camp Nou, and despite the “good image” offered by the players, Joan Laporta admitted that “any defeat hurts, they are never nice, more so at home”. But aware that many of the players on show tonight “were not the usual starters”, the Barça president had to say their performance had been more than acceptable. “They are players that went out to give a good image of themselves and they fought until the end”. He was delighted that the crowd had appreciated the effort made by so many players that are still only being weaned to play at such a high level, offering them “a standing ovation at the end”.

But next up is Real Madrid, and the president is quite aware that Barça are on fine form, but that “the team cannot afford to relax or get over confident. We have to show that we can win. Madrid are hurt, they are not enjoying the best of circumstances, and so we have to be prudent and stay focused. If we win, we’ll go twelve points ahead of them”. But to get those points, the team needs the support of its fans. “The team plays better in front of a full stadium. I’d like as many people to come as possible” he urged.

As for the change of management at Real Madrid, the president merely said that “if the Real Madrid directors have decided that, then that must be because it’s the best thing for their club … But we should only worry about ourselves”.

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