Pep Guardiola is not taking anything for granted ahead of the game against Zaragoza and has insisted that their position at the foot of the table doesn’t mean anything. The boss also spoke about the physical problems affecting Valdés and Xavi.
In his press conference ahead of the trip to Zaragoza, Pep Guardiola warned against making any
assumptions about his team’s opponents: “if we go thinking about their position in the
table and everything people are saying about them, then we’ll be making a mistake. Zaragoza
are more dangerous now, They deserve all our respect and I’m expecting a rival from a big
club, intense and aggressive”.
Guardiola spoke about last season’s game and claimed: “when
we were there last year, it was one of our toughest games. It’s a historic ground, the fans
put on a lot of pressure. The game is never over, there are teams for whom the shirt is really
important and Zaragoza are one of them – one of the big teams”, adding “they were
capable of coming back against Sporting with just 10 men”.
Valdés, Xavi and Iniesta
The boss talked about the physical fitness of Víctor Valdés, who missed
out against Copenhagen: “if he’s travelling, then that’s because he’s
recovered. He’s got back the weight he lost and he’s back in the squad”. As for
Xavi, Guardiola revealed: “the doctors say that his tendons have improved and we are looking
for him to make another leap forward over the next ten days”. With Xavi out, Iniesta is
taking on more importance in the team and Guardiola made it clear that; “I don’t want
to rest Iniesta. I’d have him playing every game. He’ll only miss a game if and when we
see that he is tired or he’s got an injury”.
Happy with the team’s form
Guardiola also showed his confidence in his team: “I still believe that the
team is very good, given where we have come from. Overall, I see us in a better than good moment
– I’m very satisfied”. Looking forward to the rest of the season, the boss
reckons his team are in for: “a hard campaign”, and that the bets way to deal with it
is “to play well”.
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Príncipe de Astúrias Awards
Pep Guardiola was again forced to reiterate his stand on the presence of more of his Spanish squad
members in Oviedo on Friday to receive the Premis Princep d’Astúries: “I said Xavi
would be there if he couldn’t make the trip to Zaragoza. I understand the Spanish fans would
like to see all of the eight players who won the World Cup, but we’ve got a game at six on
Saturday and I have to consider what’s best for this team and this club”.