The Barça manager is impressed with Atlético Madrid and what their manager, Gregorio Manzano, has achieved. Guardiola was also sorry that Afellay is injured but delighted to announce Piqué’s return.
“We’ll definitely drop more points”
Guardiola also spoke about how Barça are by no means invincible, saying “we’ll
definitely drop more points. I don’t think we are that good or that consistent. Also, they
all want to beat us. A team is never a finished product. You can always improve areas of your game
and there will always be opponents able to cause problems.”
“People coming to the stadium will see a fantastic football match” said Guardiola, as
he also rightly said ahead of the game with Valencia. A game against Atlético Madrid always
promises excitement, and asked to comment on his rival coach, Manzano, the Barça boss said
“it is a completely different team to a few years ago. You can tell that Manzano has had a
hand in things. They play very good football and not just on the counter attack. They’ve made
some good signings and are they can play well in all positions”.
Piqué and Afellay, good news and bad
Guardiola said it was great news that Gerard Piqué was declared fit on Friday.
“He is a top class footballer and essential for us because of his competitive spirit. But we
have managed to get by without him, as we did last season when we had to make do without Puyol. The
good thing is I have more players to choose from and can rotate the bench”.
But on a negative note, Afellay is going to be out for several months through injury.
“It is some drama because he’s a sensitive lad” said Guardiola. “He was in
shock at first because it’s his first serious injury. He’s feeling better now and
we’ll have to make sure we are there to support him through this. I’m sure he’ll
be back to help us later in the season”.
Good start to season
Despite three early draws this season, one in the Champions League and two in La
Liga, Josep Guardiola is happy with the way things are going. “It is hardly bad to start a
season with two Supercups against such strong teams as Real Madrid and Porto. I am sure we’ve
made mistakes because we’re not getting results but teams tend to play without complexes at
the start of a season and surprise results can happen. It is healthy that teams can surprise you by
playing so well because it means you have to rectify and improve”.