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07.11.2009 23:19

Guardiola happy with strength in depth

Vanessa Forns

Barca sent out a starting 11 with a number of normally first choice players left on the bench against Mallorca on Saturday night.

With Alves, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi starting the game on the bench, Barca showed that they had strength in depth. After the win which confirmed top spot for the team as they go into the international break, Guardiola confirmed his confidence in every one of his squad players.

“We had plenty of confidence in the players we sent out there, we knew they could take the game. We are Barca – not 12 or 13 players and between us all we have to do the best we can. I know that the players I left on the bench are important elements in the team and leaving them out was a risk, but I preferred to have them come on as impact players rather than for the whole 90 minutes. I wanted players who were fresh, especially after the effort we made in Kazakh”.

“An ugly match”

Looking back at the game, Guardiola admitted: “it was an ugly match: rain and cold is one thing, but when it's windy it's a lot worse. It was not one of our best games, but we weren't too bad”. Guardiola also commented on the big crowd -more than 70,000, who braved the elements at the Nou Camp.

Henry, Ibra and Pedro

Thierry Henry was back in the goals again and Guardiola was happy with his French striker's return: “scoring always lifts your spirits. I've got a lot of confidence in him, I'll be expecting more, he's just come off an injury and he's gradually getting back into the swing of things” The boss also had praise for Pedro: “he's a winger, but he can also score goals. He's very disciplined, both in attack and defence and I'm sure he'll grow. We need to involve him more”. The third striker tonight, Ibrahimovic, also received plaudits: “his generosity and his all round help are incredible”.

League leaders

With ten games played and the team still unbeaten, Guardiola explained: “we're not doing too bad. Last year nobody gave us a chance and every step forward we took was a surprise. This year there's no room for that, but we can still improve and that is what I want my players to understand. We've not achieved our bets yet, but we're not bad. We lead the league, look set to make the next round in the cup and need just four more points to qualify for the next round of the Champions”.
Image: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)
Image: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)
Laporta: “We have a great squad”
Club President Joan Laporta was also pleased with the night's performance: “we've shown that whoever goes out to play they will do so at a very high level . We have a great squad”.

There were more than 77.000 fans at the game and Joan Laporta stressed: “the supporters were behind the team all night and that's key for us”.

Finally, Sr Laporta had words of encouragement for Henry: “his goal will give him a a lift”, and Messi: “he's a player with extraordinary class”.

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