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16.12.2009 20:56

Guardiola: "We’re on the last lap"

Vanessa Forns

Josep Guardiola is delighted to see his team through to the final of the World Club Cup and believes they are on the final lap of an historic 2009.

The Barça manager is convinced his players did well to keep their focus against Atlante: “It was a dangerous match. But now we’re on the last lap. Let’s see if we have the ability to reach our objective because we’re certainly up for it. We can win everything in a year, which nobody has ever done”.

"We were much better than Atlante”

Despite conceding the early goal, Guardiola does not believe his players took things easy on the pitchy. “I would have preferred not to have started that way but it does have something in its favour; in the face of difficulty we have six, seven or eight players who always take a step forward. You have to bear in mind that the opponents also play, they’re good and they want to beat you. It’s all difficult. I have the sensation that in general we didn’t play fantastically well but I think we were much better than Atlante, and that’s why we won”.

An analysis of Atlante

2009-12-16_PARTIDO_037.JPGAs regards Atlante, Guardiola told reporters: “Mexican teams play good football. They’re fast and dynamic. Atlante play with a line of five at the back which is a little different to what we’re used to and this requires a period of adaptation. They’re a very dynamic team with good players who all pass the ball and are very fast”.

Messi decisive

One of the stars of the match was, undoubtedly, Leo Messi, who scored Barça’s second goal. He had been an injury doubt right up to the last moment: “We’d spoken about the risk of the injury flaring up again and we decided he should start on the bench and, depending on how the match went, use him or not. And the match needed him. To be able to call on the best always helps. He’s got a competitive gene in his blood. He wants to be the best, to decide matches”.

Pedro makes history

Another player who featured strongly was Pedro. He became the first player in history to score in six different official competitions in the same year. “I’m very happy for him. Not just for the goal but because he did a great job. I think he still has to let himself go”.
A difficult final step

Finally, Guardiola warned that Estudiantes will be a tough opponent in the final: “They’re an interesting team, that’s why they won the Copa Libertadores. They have a lot of strong points. I’m sure we will only be champions if we produce a very good performance. Estudiantes are perfectly capable of lifting the trophy”.
Images: Miguel Ruiz - FCB
Images: Miguel Ruiz - FCB

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Laporta: "We’re at the most important moment in our history"
Joan Laporta is convinced that Barça are in a fantastic position ahead of the World Club Cup Final: “This is the most important match in our history. I hope Saturday ends up being a great day for the Barça family, a festival that we can all enjoy”. However, at the same time the president is cautious: “If we win the title in the end, which would officially recognize Barça as the best team in the world, I will be immensely happy”.

To reach the final Barça had to beat a team that did its best to make life difficult “Atlante passed the ball around a lot and so I think it was a good win for us”. He assured reporters that he had not been nervous when Barça conceded the early goal; “The team is always faithful to its style of play and after the gaol we dominated completely”.

As regards the final on Saturday, Laporta believes: “It won’t be easy. In first place we have to respect the opponent. They play really strong football”. However, he’s sure that the Barça players will give 100%.

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