26 January 2012

Guardiola: “We were just winners after 180 minutes”

The manager said that it's not easy to beat Real Madrid and he considers qualification to the semifinals of the Cup as a "great success".

It’s now three times Josep Guardiola will play a King’s Cup semifinal since he took charge to the Barça bench. The manager qualifies passage to the next round as “a great success,” and even more so if it was achieved against a “very good” Real Madrid team.

Guardiola believes that the overall score of the tie reflects Barça’s superiority: “in 180 minutes we were the just winners.” He added “the fact is that we played a great tie and we qualified for the semifinals. We would have preferred to have fewer problems against Madrid, it’s difficult to beat them.” He finished by saying that “we were up to the challenge the tie.”

On Madrid’s play at the Camp Nou, Guardiola wasn’t surprised by Mourinho’s game plan. “We knew that in their situation they had to fight back, and to fight back you have to go on offence.” The manager reminded the gathered journalists that Real Madrid played similarly in the semi-final return leg of the Champions League last year.

The Camp Nou faithful answered the Barça manager’s call. A total of 95,485 spectators made their way to the stadium on game day and Guardiola congratulated them for their “spectacular behaviour.” Guardiola also had words of praise for his team: “I’m proud of the way these players competed.” It’s not easy to face off against Real Madrid and that’s why “the run against them is meritorious.”

The bad news were the injuries of Iniesta and Alexis, both of whom join Villa, Fontas and Afellay, plus Keita, who is playing the Africa Cup of Nations, on the not-available list. The manager admitted that “we aren’t very many and between all of us we must move forward.” Guardiola is pleased, however, with Pedro’s return to goal-scoring form: “we needed him because the situation was precarious.”(via FCBarcelona.cat)