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13.12.2008 23:58

Guardiola: “This victory has an emotional side”

Vanessa Forns

Despite insisting that there is still “a long way to go” in the title race and that the victory over Real Madrid is just “three more points”, FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola admitted that winning el Clásico “always had an emotional side to it”.

The Blaugrana boss said that he felt “pleased” because his team had shown that they were better than “the reigning league champions”. The victory meant that Barça moved 12 points clear of Los Merengues at the top of the table and Guardiola believes that “is a good distance “ but that there is “still a long way to go” and that his team “do not only play against Madrid”.

A long way to go

“Only 15 games have been played and there are a lot of other around us to play, like Villarreal and Valencia, among others,” the coach continued. “In January we return to play in three competitions and that will take a lot out of the side.”

90 minutes

Guardiola then praised his players for their performance because he believes that they “fought hard and finally they have obtained their reward”, but explained that it took some time because he felt they went out feeling “over-excited” because they wanted “to do things well”. He continued: “We wanted to run with the ball more, but at the break we corrected a couple of things and we gave the ball away less and improved. That showed because the only time Madrid reached out area was when Palanca made it in.”

Congratulations to Real Madrid

On Juande Ramos and his side, Guardiola was pleased with “great attacking game that they played”. He added: “Madrid are a strong team and they had some key players out. That is dangerous and their counter-attack was their best weapon and it would have been a mistake to ignore that”. At the same time, the trainer thinks that Barça “never gave up their attacking ideals.”

Public thanks

The FC Barcelona trainer also wanted to thank the club’s supporters that maintained the noise and atmosphere throughout the 90 minutes. “I want to say thank you to everyone that came to the game,” he continued. “That helped us a lot at some difficult times.”

Protecting Messi

Guardiola then explained why he complained to the referee at the start of the game about the treatment of Messi: “I have no doubt that forms part of the game,” he said. “But there were three consecutive fouls on him that could have done a lot of damage. I was worried that the game was going to carry on like that. I let myself become slightly carried away by the atmosphere of the game.”
Guardiola: “This victory has an emotional side”
Laporta: “We deserved to win”
Clearly pleased with the victory, club president Joan Laporta said that he felt Barça “deserved to win” el Clásico. “It was a hard game as it did not stop raining and because both teams played as well as they could. We deserved to win and we have taken the three points, which was our objective.” He then stated that he felt that the game was “very exciting and difficult” and that Real Madrid had been “worthy rivals that did very well and had their chances”.
The Blaugrana supreme had some words of support for Samuel Eto’o after he missed a penalty and then scored the first goal. “Despite not being able to score from the spot, Eto’o opened things up with his goal. He is a born goalscorer and a decisive player,” he explained. “The fans were magnificent too and we key to the win. They deserved this victory because they ensured that the players never stopped and kept going until the final whistle.”

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