02 April 2012

Mascherano: "We have to keep working, and win every game from here to the end"

The Argentinian defender was proud of the work carried out by the first team in the game against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

"We were a bit surprised, especially how our rival made us work so hard" said the player.

Javier Mascherano praised his team's victory against Athletic Bilbao, 2-0, in the interview after the game on the Barça TV program “El Marcador”. The Argentinian player said that "it was that type of game, at a physical level, as demanding as we’ve had" and added that Bilbao are a team that "over and above whether you like them, or like their footballing philosophy, they pressurise you all over the pitch".

The defender was delighted with his teams’ effort, as well as with the end result. "You have to give a bit more, and I think the team did that, and that’s why we won, as well as playing a great game" he said. Mascherano also stated that "we were very good, and created a lot of chances; it may not have been noticeable, but the game was really demanding".

Mascherano was thrilled with the huge banner that Barça fans dedicated to his compatriot, Lionel Messi, at the start of the match: "Just seeing the banner gave me goosebumps" he said, and pointed out that "for him, it was spectacular. That your own people, people who saw you grow up as a sportsman, appreciate you so much, and let you know it with this type of gesture, is just spectacular".

Mascherano also commented about the controversies that have been created around his teammate Gerard Pique. "Football is often very unfair. Gerard has given so much to FC Barcelona since he came back, not only in terms of titles, but with the way he’s always played" said the defender. He added that it is an honor to play alongside Pique, and the rest of his teammates: "Playing alongside the likes of Gerard and Puyol has given me lots of confidence".

Javier Mascherano had only kind words for his manager. "We are talking about one of the best managers in the world, if not the best," he said. He added that working with Guardiola is "a constant learning process", and emphasised Pep’s desire for continual innovation. "He always comes up with some surprise, or some detail, that helps us win the game, or helps the team to feel comfortable on the pitch" he said, and pointed out that "it’s what makes Pep different from the rest of the managers” .

"Coming into a game as important as Tuesday’s there’s no way you can be tired” he said in reference to the game on Tuesday against Milan in the return leg of the Champions League quarterfinals. Mascherano also stressed that "when you have something so important to do, you forget everything and your body just responds". (via FCBarcelona.com)