14 May 2012

Zubizarreta: "in the Liga, we lacked the final touch"

The director of football feels Barça was missing the final touch when it mattered most in their Liga and Champions League campaigns.

Zubizarreta insists "we did all we could" to persuade Guardiola to stay on as manager.

He offered support to Tito Vilanova: "we will give him our support and protect him in everything we can".

On Tito Vilanova, he said "we will support him and protect him as well as we can”

Andoni Zubizarreta, director of the sports area of football has reviewed the season on the TV show ‘Hat Trick’ on Esport3: "It is our obligation to always be fighting for titles. We did very well in the Spanish Supercup. We won the European Supercup. We also performed to our best at the World Clubs Cup. But when it reached the final stages of the league, having won our place in the title challenge, we were beaten at home by Madrid. We couldn’t finish the job. In the Champions League, the semi final with Chelsea showed what an unpredictable, yet wonderful, game football can be. This year we haven’t got our reward. Let’s hope we get it in the cup".

But looking back at the season as a whole, he commented that "if I was the father of a child who got grades like these, I’d tell him to relax and go off and enjoy his holidays”.

Zubizarreta also spoke about Guardiola’s resignation and the announcement of his replacement. "What Pep said in his press conference about the confirmation of Tito as the new manager being made on the same Friday as the press conference is quite right. We had spoken to Tito on Wednesday. There were a lot of meetings after that Wednesday, it seemed like months but it was only a matter of hours. On Friday, Tito told us he’d accept the job and that was also the moment that Pep found out that the proposal had been confirmed". He also insisted that "we did everything we could” to persuade Guardiola to stay, but the decisive factor was that the outgoing coach simply felt exhausted.

The former FC Barcelona goalkeeper also denied rumours of any deterioration in the relationship between Guardiola and Vilanova: "I know what conversations we had, and on Friday morning Pep was telling Tito that he had to do it, he had to take the job. The rest of it seems totally over the top to me. All of the speculations I have heard are simply making a mountain out of a molehill". He added that, aside from sporting matters, Tito is a very different person to Guardiola and “will be in charge of the football part because he is different to Pep … We will help and protect him as much as we can.”

As for the future of the squad, Zubizarreta said that no decisions will be made until after the Cup Final. "We’ll start talking to Tito from the 28th onwards. Any other matters are pure speculation … We don’t have any players up for transfer, and we have not received offers for Alves, Pedro or Piqué. In the time I’ve been at Barça, there have been no more than four offers put on the table. Some were accepted.” And as for possible signings, Zubizarreta refused to reveal what kind of money the club might spend, and
limited himself to saying that “next season, we will have the squad that we want to have." (via FCBarcelona.cat)