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30.03.2010 12:09

Begiristain: “Strong defence required to conquer Europe”

Sandra Sarmiento

Txiki Begiristain believes that the key to FC Barcelona beating Arsenal in the Champions League quarter finals lies in defence.

The Blaugrana technical secretary revealed that confidence was high as he travelled with the squad to London for the first leg and outlined how he believes that the Catalan club can progress. “There is a good feeling,” he said. “Barça should always be in the quarter finals of the Champions League due to our budget and the size of the club. We are in good form and have the capability and the optimism to be able to win the tie.”

Perfect balance

Barça and Arsenal are being billed as playing attractive football and Begiristain is interested to see who does it best. “We shall see who runs after the ball more, who has more possession, who controls things and which of the two teams is stronger,” he said. Balancing their attacking game with staying strong at the back will be crucial, the club director continued. “I am talking about defending well and being strong so that the opposition can create as few chances as possible. Everyone talks about how good our football is, but the fact the team defends so well should also be emphasised. To be European champions you have to be strong at the back.”

Mallorca and Stuttgart

2010-03-30_VIAJE_LONDRES_01.JPGThis season Barça have scored less goals than last term, but at the other end the defence has let in even less. Just 18 goals have been conceded in 29 league games. “The balance of the team is almost perfect,” Begiristain continued. “The return leg against VfB Stuttgart the team had complete control. They had very few chances against us and against Mallorca, apart from when they hit the woodwork twice, they also did not come close.”

Keita and Madrid

Reflecting on Seydou Keita view that teams do not play at their best against Real Madrid, Begiristain said: “He had the feeling that other sides give everything when they play Barça but when they play Madrid they do not always. Keita was talking about his personal opinion. However, I did not see the game and I do not know if Atlético de Madrid played at 100 per cent.”
Begiristain: “Strong defence required to conquer Europe”

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Pinto deal
Txiki Begiristian has revealed that Barça are hopeful of extending José Manuel Pinto’s stay. “The club would like it if he remained here,” he said about the goalkeeper, who current deal runs out on June 30, 2011. “We are negotiating a new deal.”

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