“He’s virtually irreplaceable, but we’ll get by without him”
Josep Guardiola was optimistic about tomorrow’s game against Sporting and although his team will have to make do without the injured Leo Messi, he insisted: “he’s virtually irreplaceable, but we’ll get by without him”.
Guardiola commented: “Messi has some special abilities. Fortunately
he’ll be okay in a short time
. He’s a strong lad and his bones and ligaments have held up. We’ll hope to
have him back in two or three weeks”.
“He’ll be back when he’s ready”
Despite his optimism, Guardiola also warned: “he’ll come
back when he’s ready. It’s an injury that can have a number of after effects – if
we don’t get him fully cured, it’s something he could carry with him for a while. I
don’t know if he’ll be alright for the Rubin Kazan game, he’ll just have to rest
till he’s okay again. We’ve not put a date on his return and he understands that
perfectly well and I repeat, when he’s alright, he’ll come back”.
Wednesday will be the first game Messi misses, but Guardiola assured reporters:
“we’ll look for a way to continue attacking and defend even better. Sporting have had
the same manager for some time and that’s a plus. They’ve established themselves in the
top flight. They can get to you with two or three quick passes and look to get forward with two or
three players really quickly. They are aggressive in that they go and look for goals”.
Guardiola claimed to have: “a lot of affection and respect” for the Sporting boss
Manuel Preciado, and reckons that to beat his team” we’ll have to know all about them
and see where we can create problems for them and how we can stop them troubling us”.
“Our strength is on the pitch”
Guardiola also insisted on distancing himself from the recent media
rows, claiming: “our strength is on the pitch. The only thing we have to do is try and get
better and to keep on winning games. We played really well
and there haven’t been many such complete games. We’ve had two very good
games, but now we have to keep that up - something I’m convinced we can do”.
Guardiola was also quizzed as to changes in Barça’s style, but he countered: “we
don’t do anything special; it’s just that we are getting to know each other better. We
adapt the qualities, but the basic ideal is the same. We try to adapt certain aspects to the
strengths of our players and we try and make them adapt too, so that they feel comfortable”.
Iniesta’s impending fatherhood
Guardiola also had words of congratulations for Andres Iniesta on the news of his upcoming
fatherhood: “the important thing is that he and his wife are very happy and that their future
child is okay. Getting Andrés back is the best signing of the season. He’s very happy and I
hope that this happy event will make him even better and able to get back to his level”.
The boss also spoke of another World Cup winner, Sergio Busquets, explaining:
“it’s his third year in the team now and he’s become a regular. He’s a
stable player with a very strong character. It’s good for the squad that there is a new
generation like him coming through”.
Villa and Mascherano
As to his new signings, Guardiola was adamant: “Mascherano has
adapted perfectly – we didn’t lose to Hercules because of him or Adriano. We’ll
get nowhere with that type of analysis. Both of them are a great help, both off and on the
pitch”. David Villa: “will get the goal. He’s scored wherever he’s played
and the goals will come for us too”. Guardiola closed with the only negative note, concerning
Abidal: “his grandfather has died and the funeral is today or tomorrow. He’ll come back
when that is over”.