The Barça manager has defended his team’s methods against Real Sociedad and AC Milan despite the results. “I only expect my players to behave like they have done these last few days”, he said.
The style is not negotiable. Josep Guardiola has said that neither the setbacks against Real
Sociedad and AC Milan, nor a possible bad result against Osasuna on Saturday, are any reason to
doubt the Barça style. “If we don’t play well, we can’t win. And sometimes you
play well and still don’t win” he said. “I promise we’ll play like we did
against Real Sociedad and AC Milan. Against the Italians, we shot 23 times, had 70% of the
possession and played to win. I just hope my players behave like they have done these last few
Not promising titles
That’s all Guardiola is promising. Nothing else. “I haven’t got
the strength to promise titles. I’m not promising we’ll win anything this year. Things
are won step by step, with a lot of effort and a lot of work. Right now we are only candidates like
the other 19 teams are” he added.
Aware of demands
But Guardiola is also aware that he will get some criticism after drawing two games
in a week. “At the moment we don’t think anyone can beat Usain Bolt, but somebody will
one day. And maybe somebody will win 13 titles out of 15 and beat our 12 out of 15, and then
demands will be made of them like they are of us. After winning so much, standards are raised and
also the demands”.
Impressed with Mendilíbar and Busquets
But what really matters is Saturday’s game with Osasuna. “Mendilíbar, both at
Valladolid and now with Osasuna, is not a manager who speculates. He changes very little whoever
the opposition are. He creates pressure, he’s aggressive, and his teams have always caused us
problems. Mendilíbar is a manager who gets his personality across and I suppose something similar
will happen on Saturday” he said.
Guardiola also used the press conference to justify his decision to play Sergio Busquets at
centre back. “In the 5-0 win against Villarreal, Busquets was a great centre back, and now
they’re saying he’s useless. I didn’t tell him to chase down Pato, but to divide
the ball well. We need him, just like we need Valdés”.