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15.05.2010 13:59

“We have to win the right to be champions”

Vanessa Forns

Josep Guardiola is ready for one final effort against Valladolid, and knows that they can’t consider anything to have already been done. So he wants respect for the opposition and no celebrations until after the final whistle.

The Barça manager is by no means expecting an easy game against the side coached by the wily Javier Clemente. In today’s press conference he clearly wanted to calm the mood of euphoria that he senses could be dangerous. “Tomorrow we’ll be going out to win the game that will make us champions. I don’t want people to come here to celebrate, I want them to come to help the team win a match. The game with Valladolid will not be over until the final whistle. We have to win the right to be champions.”

The need to win

He made it clear. “If we don’t win, we won’t be champions”. Having seen the way Real Madrid are playing, he has no doubt that they’ll beat Malaga. “I never plan a game thinking about what our rival might do, and there is no way we can go out there speculating on the Madrid result.” He knows that they only really depend on themselves, and that winning the game will guarantee the title whatever happens to Madrid.

“Valladolid are not defensive”

2010-05-15_ENTRENO_56.JPGOn the side that they’ll be facing at the Camp Nou, Guardiola does not think Valladolid are a defensive outfit. “I have watched practically every game under Clemente, and we have tried to work out what they do. Clemente is not defensive, quite the opposite, he likes direct football, and doesn’t like to hang onto the ball in midfield. I never got that feeling when I was fortunate enough to play under him as manager. Valladolid is a team that likes to get the ball into the opposing area quickly, and they have two very good strikers to finish the job.”

Guardiola thinks Valladolid’s biggest danger is that “they have some professionals whose life depends on playing in the first or second division. That is a terribly dangerous factor and that’s why it’s such a hard game. We have to win the right to be champions”.

How to win

He knows Barça will need “a lot of intensity. This game will be won if we get things right ourselves, and make sure they don’t have enough time for long balls. We have to keep them away from the area and keep the ball away from them. We won’t be inventing anything. I want my players to go out there and let the fans know that they want to win this League”.

Happy with a job well done

Guardiola also said that whatever happens tomorrow, he is happy with what his team has done this year. “We have been saying for weeks that things here are better than good. Whether we win the title or not, the season is over, and what these players have achieved is immense. Tomorrow we’ll be hoping to become champions, but we know that this is sport, and sometimes things go against you. If we miss out, we’ll be sad but still happy with a job well done”.

No regrets

Reflecting on his two seasons as manager, he explained that “right since the start we made very high demands but the players have responded with admirable humility and effort. They have been amazingly consistent in the league. There are some great people in this squad, and they have respected my opinions. I am very pleased with their behaviour. I have no regrets, I just want to say thank you to them”.
“We have to win the right to be champions”

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Iniesta is fit
Josep Guardiola also said that Andrés Iniesta is ready to take part in the game at the Camp Nou. He has been out since April 13, but should get some playing time tomorrow. “He’s ready. He hasn’t played for five weeks. But he is a man that can always surprise us. I might even go for it and play him from the start. He looks fine”.

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