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Youth teams

17.06.2008 14:33

A season of effort and constant development

Jaume Marcet

Josep Guardiola has grown in stature over his season managing Barša B. The reserves have generally improved as the season has gone by, and the presence of the former player has proved inspirational.

When Guardiola accepted the challenge of running the reserve team, he knew it was not going to be an easy job. He needed to rebuild a team that had to get over the nasty shock of relegation to the Third Division, which was no place for a team like Barša B.

Adaptation to new situation

From the very first training session, Guardiola made sure his players were aware of the cause. “I am a Third Division manager, we are all in this league and we should not think about how we could play in a higher category” he said, indicating that the players had to remain humble, and focus on their own team and not on other challenges that the future might offer.

Hard start

The squad was made of a curious mix of players. Some had stayed on from the previous season, others had been promoted from the junior and C sides, while there were also some new arrivals. But they all gelled immediately into a very competitive side.

BANQUETA.pngThe first defeat, at Manresa (2-0), was a wake up call. Guardiola told his footballers that they “should never lose their attitude and eagerness to play and work as hard as possible, and today they beat us on the basis of attitude.” This is an aspect Guardiola values very highly, and every time he spoke in public he would say that “I am proud of this group of players, we can play better or worse, but their behaviour is always impeccable”.

Barša B were in the leading group all season, and visiting sides struggled at the Miniestadi. But the side found it harder to travel, often finding it hard to cope with the rudimentary style of some of their opponents, and the high presence of artificial grass also created problems.

Great second half

But it was all part of a learning curve, and the away results started improving. Wins at Palamˇs (0-1) and SantboiÓ (0-2) suggested that Guardiola had got things back on the right track. He once said “the arrival of Chico during the transfer window has made us more solid.” A run of excellent results meant the side was guaranteed a place in the playoffs with four games to spare.

Winning the league

QM3D0992_.jpgA top four place secure, the next task was to make sure of the division championship, in which they were locked in a fascinating battle with Sant Andreu. This kept the winning spirit going right until the end, and made sure they were not over-relaxed when the crunch play off matches came around. After a draw at home to Sant Andreu (1-1) and a last day win at Europa (0-1), Guardiola celebrated the Third Division title with his players at the Nou Sardenya. He congratulated his players on “an excellent season in which we have managed to get the better of a great team in Sant Andreu”.
A season of effort and constant development
Promotion playoffs
Canary Islanders Castillo were the first obstacle in the chase for a Division 2B berth. After a goalless draw in Castillo del Romeral, a huge crowd gathered at the Mini to watch Barša B run away with the second leg (6-0). The final match pitted Barša B against Barbastro, and a 2-0 win away from home in the first leg set things up nicely for the second leg a week later, when Guardiola’s side made sure of promotion with a 1-0 win at the Miniestadi.

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