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05.03.2010 15:20

Guardiola: "Henry is not being saved for the World Cup"

David Puig

FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has defended Thierry Henry against his critics by insisting that the Frenchman is not being held back in order to let him play at the World Cup Finals in the summer.

The Blaugrana boss cited the forward’s professionalism and general conduct after he was accused of being reserved for the tournament in South Africa. "It is not true that he is being rested for the World Cup," Guardiola stated. "He has not said that. He is paying the price for being one of the best and for having won everything. He knows that he is not playing at his best and has commented that it is logical that others should play. He is trying to overcome this situation and I am here to help him."

No problem

2009-10-22_ENTRENO_40.JPG"There is no reason to have a bad relationship with Henry," the trainer continued. "If he does not play it is, among other things, because maybe there are players in better form than him. He is conscious that he has to improve and I think that he knows what he is doing. I want him to have the same desire that he has always had. I am sure that he will be back to his best in the next couple of months."

Lillo fan

Looking ahead to the game against Almería at the weekend Guardiola revealed his friendship with his opposite number, Juanma Lillo . "He is a very good coach and has been in football for a long time so I was delighted that he is back in la Primera where I am sure he will do well," the Barça boss stated.

Lillo took over from Hugo Sánchez earlier this season and Guardiola thinks the new man has already made his mark. "They are a team that like to play and they use their keeper in circulating the ball," he said. "He has two very fast forwards in Crusat and Piatti and is very good tactically."

Level pegging

Barça and Real Madrid do not meet until next month, but already many are stating that the Clásico will be decisive in the title race. "There are still many very difficult games to play before that," Guardiola explained. "But I know that the top two have a lot of points already. However, I do not think that there is much difference between Barça and Real Madrid and Sevilla or Valencia."
Guardiola:  “Henry is not being saved for the World Cup“

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World Cup hope
Pep Guardiola is hopeful that Jonathan Dos Santos will go to the World Cup with Mexico in the summer. "He had a very good pre-season with us and, although he has not played a lot, he has been watched often by Javier Aguirre. If he goes to the World Cup then it will be something that will help grow as a player. It would be great news."

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