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“We could be another 20 years without a final”

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20.05.2011 14:40

Guardiola: “We could be another 20 years without a final”

David Puig

Pep Guardiola admitted today that he’s going into Saturday’s game against Malaga with Wembley very much in the front of his mind and he also stressed what a great opportunity his players had in the final.

Guardiola: “We could be another 20 years without a final”

Iván de la Peña
Guardiola had words of praise for Ivan de la Peña who announced his retirement from the game today: “I understand his decision. He was one of the most talented players I’ve ever known. I really enjoyed playing alongside him. I’m sure he’ll continue to be connected with the game as he’s crazy about it, though he’ll suffer because he’s a very sensitive and emotional guy. I wish him and his family all the best”.
The league comes to an end this Saturday and Barça are due to travel to Malaga with the title already conquered. Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Guardiola accepted that his team’s training sessions were now focussed on the United game next week: “we have an obligation to look at the next game of course, but it’s true that most of our work now is focussed on London” The boss has decided to leave a number of his big names behind for the trip to Malaga and he explained: “I prefer to have the youngsters playing against Malaga -they are full of desire and want to make things tough for me . For the others I think they are better off training on Saturday and resting on Sunday”.

“We are so lucky to be playing in a final”

Guardiola wants his team to go into the Wembley final without fear, with hope and also aware of the responsibility they have: “we are so lucky to be in a final. We have to be conscious of the fact that although we have played two finals in the last three years, we could go another 20 years without making it to another. The older players in the squad can remember what it’s like to go 4 or 5 years without winning anything. If we don’t realise how important the game is, then we will give United an edge and they will also be after a win to turn the tables on us after our win two years ago”.

The boss also revealed that he’s still not decided on his starting 11 for the final: “it’ll depend on how United go into the game”. Guardiola reckons that United might try and pressure high up the pitch, though he doesn’t think they’ll change their basic style of play. He also spoke of the effects of having 15 days to prepare the match: “we’re not used to that, but we will be working on aspects of our game, in attack and defence, with the aim of ensuring that the players go into the game as fresh, mentally and physically, as possible. Now we just have to enjoy every day as it comes and make the training sessions as much fun as we can – we’ll have time to get focussed”.

Wembley ‘92

Nineteen years ago today saw Barça win their first European Cup – also at Wembley of course –and Guardiola recalled some of the sensations he had that day: “I’ve seen fragments of that game on Barça TV and I remember that it suddenly hit me that I played in the final so soon after getting a place in the first team. We were under a lot of pressure during the week before because it was to be our first European Cup, but we went about converting that pressure into excitement, hope and a big challenge. I have only good memories of that game”.

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