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13.03.2010 13:44

"The league is the litmus test"

Vanessa Forns

Josep Guardiola stressed today that from here on in all the league games are vital. “Winning the league is the real litmus test – that gives us the stability to fight in Europe”.

Real Madrid’s exit from Europe was the context for much of the questioning of Guardiola in Saturday lunchtime’s press conference, but Guardiola insisted that regardless of Madrid’s defeat in the Champions League. “the league is always tough to win”.

"The real difficultly and the merit is in winning the league title and that’s what we have to focus on. There’s a tendency to say that the Champions League is the objective, but we’d be wrong to centre our attention too much on the fact that the final is at the Bernabeu. The league is the real litmus test and the real merit. We have to focus on that and that will give strength to fight in Europe”.

"We’ll have to take a lot of points to be champions

2010-03-13_ENTRENO_35.JPGGuardiola is under no illusions as to the task ahead: “I’m glad that the players see that it’s down to us to go on and win the league. I’m clear that if we want the title we need to take a lot of points. I’m sure that Madrid will drop very few points in what’s left of the season”.


The boss also spoke of Sunday’s rival, Valencia: “we’re getting to the business end of the season and Valencia are a very big team to beat. They are among the two or three best attacking outfits in the league. They attack space better than anybody and they dominate in many areas. I’m a big admirer of their manager. Valencia are one of Spain’s and Europe’s big clubs and they can aspire to win everything. If they were in the Champions League, I’m sure they would have progressed as far as us. They have a structure and an attack to rate with the best in Europe”.

Madrid defeat: “a lesson to us all”

2010-03-13_ENTRENO_30.JPGGuardiola refused to be drawn into discussing who was at fault for Madrid’s elimination, but he did stress: “it’s a lesson for us all – any rival deserves your respect. Now Madrid will bounce back and fight for the league – like us they are favourites to win it”.

Keita misses out on Valencia game

Although Keita has been training well, Guardiola announced: “he’s not yet ready” and he would not be in the squad for the Valencia game. The boss revealed that in training, Henry had enjoyed: “one of his best weeks”, and insisted that Chygrynsky “needed time. While I’m n charge, he’s staying”.
“The league is the litmus test“

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Last week’s ref
With Guardiola and Ibrahimovic both suspended following last week’s red cards, Guardiola admitted: “I’ve seen the images (of the incident that led to his red card) and I’m not proud ogf themI can understand why I was sent off and I don’t like to see myself behaving like that. I try to control myself out of respect for the institution I represent, but sometimes I lose it and that’s why I was sent off”.

However, Guardiola also insisted that : “when somebody lies about you, you have to take action and that’s why we appealed my red card. Both Sr Clos and Sr Gallego lied in the ref’s report and that’s why we appealed. If the images don’t show what happened then that’s that, but the next time I see Sr Clos I’ll ask him why he lied and put in the ref’s report things that I did not say”.

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