01 April 2012

Guardiola: “Athletic Club Bilbao take you to the limit"

The Barça manager noted Barça’s defensive intensity as one of the keys to Barça’s victory over Athletic Club, who, according to the manager, “gave a lesson in mentality and how if you want to succeed, you can”.

Guardiola is convinced that that King’s Cup Final will be “fantastic,” and he doubts it could possibly be more intense than tonight’s match.

The manager said that “it’s a gift to football to have people like Bielsa”.

Josep Guardiola considers that Athletic Club Bilbao, keeping their Europa League match this week in mind, gave “a lesson to all athletes on how to manage situations, with or without difficulties.” The Barça manager said that Barça “put in one of the most brilliant defensive displays” in memory in order to beat Bielsa’s team. “Bilbao takes you to the limit of tension and effort. They force you to put in a good effort to win the match. If you don’t play with intensity, they roll right over you,” he added.

“Mascherano is a one-of-a-kind signing”

The Barça manager praised his team for their performance tonight, but he especially singled out Gerard Piqué, Javier Mascherano and Adriano: “we’ve missed Gerard for the better part of the year. He’s back to his necessary playing form. He and Mascherano played a great game. Javier is an almost unimaginable signing. He’s the type of player that a manager wouldn’t trade for anything, and would never sell. He’s a unique signing, we’er very pleased to have him. I also want to highlight Adriano’s effort.”

Guardiola gives great value to the three points the team secured from tonight’s “very complicated” match. When asked about Barça’s next match against Milan, the Barça manager said: “Athletic Bilbao doesn’t defend, they come for you. It’s completely different from Milan, it’s like night and day.”

Finally, after saying that Cesc didn’t play tonight as a precaution, Guardiola said the next match at the Camp Nou this Tuesday, the return leg of the Champions League quarterfinal, is “the most important match of the year” and, at the same time, “the most beautiful one.” (via FCBarcelona.com)