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09.11.2009 14:40

"We’re playing because we haven’t qualified yet"

Jordi Clos

Speaking at a Camp Nou press conference on Monday morning, Pep Guardiola warned about the dangers of underestimating Tuesday evening’s opponent and defended the team’s performance at the weekend.

Guardiola told reporters that his players could take nothing for granted against Cultural Leonesa in the return leg of their Spanish Cup match. “"We’ll try and do things well. We’re playing because we haven’t qualified yet and we’ll have to apply ourselves, with respect for the opponent. There area lot of nasty surprises in football. The first tie is always really dangerous. The fact that we won there doesn’t mean we’ve clinched the tie”.

Matches the best training

2009-11-09_ENTRENO_01.JPGGuardiola is determined that his players should not become complacent: “I hope they take it seriously. I’ve learned as a manager that you don’t train much. Every three of four days there’s a match and the important thing is to keep the players motivated. A match is always the best training session”. He also congratulated Cultural Leonesa’s leading goal scorer Jito on his recent rich vein of form and described some poor results for the club as “transitory”.

Chances for all

With a number of first team regulars missing through injury or international duty, it seems likely that Guardiola will draw on the reserves to make up his squad list for the Cup match: “They always pass me a CD of Barça Atlètic and I try and watch them. I spoke to Luis Enrique (head coach of the reserve team) and watched a few players in the close season”. It could also be a chance for Bojan to show what he can do and Guardiola is well aware that the young Catalan striker has only played a peripheral role so far this season. “I understand that he may be unhappy and disappointed. The simple fact is, I see him more in the goal area and I wanted to give Ibra the chance to settle in. However, I want to play him because he deserves it for his attitude”. He also clarified the exclusion from the list of Rafa Márquez: “He knows why he’s off the list. It’s not a punishment”.

Confident of his methods

2009-11-09_ENTRENO_17.JPGFinally, Pep Guardiola spoke about the weekend win against Mallorca and displayed some irritation at the criticism of the team’s performance and their ability to defend set pieces: “We can’t always play well. Remember, last year we played some much worse matches than on Saturday. It’s the first goal we’ve conceded from a dead ball situation. Obviously, you can always improve but I believe we are averaging out well”.
Images: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)
Images: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)

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"It doesn’t make sense for Ronaldo to play"
Asked about the fact that injured Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has been called up by Portugal, Guardiola explained: "There’s a lack of confidence between clubs and national teams. We should take a step forward. If he’s injured he has to rest. It doesn’t make sense for Ronaldo to play”.

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