19 April 2012

Pep Guardiola: "We have a nice challenge ahead and accept it"

Guardiola: "This is a great challenge, one worthy of a Champions League semi-final”.

Josep Guardiola is convinced that if his team are to make it to the Champions League final in Munich, Barça will have to play a perfect game at the Camp Nou next Tuesday. The manager views the upcoming match as “a great challenge, one worthy of a Champions League semi-final.” Guardiola said that he’s proud of the performance his players put in at Stamford Bridge and that his team went into the match “to play the best way possible, where they never lost the desire to score.” Whatever happens from now on out, the manager said that his team “have already won this year” after playing at such a high level for so long. “Getting to this point is a success within itself,” he said.

Guardiola went on to say that he's convinced that Barça fans won’t forsake their team next week. He also warned that his players are up to the task of fighting back in the tie: “it doesn’t matter how the players feel right now. I know that they will give it their all to get to the final and that the people will come and support us on Saturday and Tuesday. We’ll try to succeed.”

When asked what type of game he expects from the English side in the return leg, Guardiola said, “I don’t think Chelsea will come out to attack or pressure us high up the pitch, I do anticipate 10 players in the area waiting to counterattack. They’ll probably bide their time and wait for their moment. We cannot forget that Chelsea, with very little, create a lot of danger, and they do it very well. We’ll have to find the way to score goals.”

Ahead of the match at the Camp Nou, Guardiola highlighted the importance of scoring, something that didn’t happen this Wednesday despite Barça’s 24 attempts. “We’ll try to find alternatives to complete a comeback. It won’t be easy, especially with 10 players in the area. We’ll need inspiration and patience to find the way to turn this around,” he said. He added: “the challenge is to shoot 24 times next Tuesday and score a goal. We need to be patient and ambitious. I don’t know if there are many other teams that have shot 24 times away from home.”

Josep Guardiola said that today, because of Drogba’s goal, that Chelsea are favourites to go through to the Champions League final: “Chelsea are favourites at the moment, but we have 90 minutes at home to try to do the best job possible, and hopefully, make it to the final.” (via FCBarcelona.com)