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15.12.2009 16:54

Guardiola: “The final doesn’t exist”

Jordi Clos

Coach Pep Guardiola has stayed loyal to his philosophy of taking each game as it comes and doesn’t want to look any further beyond the semi final of the Clubs World Cup. “Just because we are a bigger name doesn’t mean we have already done the job”.

Whether in Barcelona or Abu Dhabi, whether it’s a Liga game or the Clubs World Cup, Pep Guardiola’s pre-match press conferences don’t change much. All he ever wants to talk about is the next match, which in this case is the semi final against Mexican outfit Atlante. “There is only one game on my mind. There final doesn’t exist. The CONCACAF champions have as much a right as we do to play in it. You can only become a champion by winning on the pitch” he said.

Players prepared

2009-12-15_MANDAR_14.JPGThe squad is thinking along similar lines. “I think the players know what we have at stake and the chance we have. I imagine they are aware just how hard it has been to get here. There is not much more I can say.” Guardiola is as hungry as ever to win. “I know the players well, and I know they want to win everything. We are aware that we might not make the final. Just because we are a bigger name doesn’t mean we have already done the job.”

Respect for Atlante

Although Barça are by the biggest name out of the clubs in the Arab Emirates, the coach has every respect for Atlante: “We’ll need to play very well to reach the final” he said. “We know we can lose to any team in the world. We have to focus on our game and little details.”

Messi and Keita

Messi is the big doubt. Pep Guardiola said “he is much, much better. His ankle is looking good and he’s much more cheerful. We’ll have to see how things develop.” Another player with fitness concerns is Seydou Keita, who took a knock in the derby. “He has a slight muscle problem that’s causing some discomfort. I’ll need to hear his opinion before deciding whether to play him” said Guardiola.

Photos: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)
Photos: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)

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Fond memories

Oddly enough, Pep Guardiola ended his playing career very close to Abu Dhabi, in Doha (Qatar), from 2003 to 2005. The Catalan has fond memories of those days. “I spent two years in Qatar and it was an unforgettable experience. My family and me were well looked after. I’m very pleased to be back.”

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