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21.12.2008 21:58

Guardiola: “It’s a massive result”

Vanessa Forns

Guardiola thinks that the win away at Villarreal is “a big step forward” for Barça in the League. Bearing in mind the quality of their opponents and the fact that winning in El Madrigal is always tough, he thinks Sunday’s win was “a massive result”.

“The team has got a massive result,” said Guardiola. “We’ve played a great all-round game and we’ve also had that bit of luck you sometimes need. It’s a big step forward.” He was also very happy that his team has picked up all twelve points from its last four games, all of which have been against fellow title contenders. “Twelve points is a pretty good return,” he commented.

“Unimaginable” lead

Barcelona ends 2008 on top with 41 points, ten more than their nearest challengers Seville; eleven more than Atlético Madrid and Valencia who are third and fourth; and twelve more than Real Madrid and Villarreal. “It’s a good lead,” admitted Guardiola, and one which would have been “unimaginable” after the first League match when Barça went down away at Numancia by 1-0. “But there’s still a long way to go,” he pointed out.

Quality Villarreal

Guardiola was full of praise for Pellegrini’s side. “You expect Villarreal to create chances,” he said. “They’ve been up there for years now and they do things really well.” What Barça has to do now is to rest and recharge its batteries before the rush of games they will have at the start of next year.

Hard to hold players back

In the 74th minute and with Barça ahead by 1-2, the Catalans were suddenly left with only ten men when Piqué was given his marching orders. “Even down to ten men and winning, at times we go a bit over the top,” said Guardiola. “ We need to learn how to play these types of games, even though sometimes it’s hard as a manager to hold your players back when they all want to get forward. Attacking’s all well and good but you can’t afford to throw away everything you’ve worked for in just a few minutes.”

“All games are tough”

Barça’s manager repeated his view that “all games are tough”, and pointed out that while going to places like Huelva, Bilbao, Pamplona and Santander isn’t easy, Villarreal poses a special challenge. Guardiola joked that the press could praise the team as much as they liked “but only until we get back to work”.

“Stats don’t win things”

Finally Guardiola was keen not to let people get carried away by Barça becoming ‘winter champions’ with three games still to go in the first half of the season. “That’s just stats,” he said, “and stats don’t win things.”

Guardiola: “It’s a massive result”
Match winner Henry
Guardiola underlined Thierry Henry’s performance in this evening’s game at El Madrigal. “I’m really happy for him,” he said. “He’s a really great guy, very polite and humble and that’s important in a player with a track record like his. He knows he can win games and that’s very important for us because it gives us lots of options.”

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