29 January 2012

Uncharted territory for the 'Pep Team'

The draw against Villarreal leaves Guardiola set an unprecedented situation. The technician seems the most suitable so that nobody lowers the arms.

Guardiola never had to deal with this scenario. No other similar precedent. Barca coach had never been, until yesterday, seven points behind the leader. Pep working in unfamiliar territory. It is also a new situation for some players, as Pique, have only known the friendly face of Barcelona.

Not since the loss of the Rijkaard era to recall a similar situation. It happened in the 2007-08 season in Week 20. Then a white victory against Atletico (0-2) played left Barcelona to seven points. A world for some. The situation, however, that far from Barcelona, ​​a computer installed into complacency, in the winter after having achieved notable victories such as Champions League and two leagues.

Then the sensations were those of a set in freefall. With the main players resigned, with Ronaldinho the most devastating example of a group in which Messi seemed to be the best news. A player to rely on a project. Now Leo is no longer just a player differential is much more than that. It is the engine of the team, the overall image of FC Barcelona, ​​the player record. Compete against the best ever.

Guardiola is not Rijkaard. Pep is interventionist where Frank was more in favor of self-management. The current Barca coach ensures maximum demand in the current Barça squad. Failure to come within the game options, not trying is not possible in the ideals Guardiola. The Coaching staff's great challenge will be to maintain the motivation of the insole in a competition that seems more and more difficult with Champions and the Glass in the turn of the corner

The company is particularly complicated Pep probably use the term "exciting" because ahead is a whole seems very Madrid in the league. The set of Mourinho often suffer short-circuit protection have you conceded a goal in the last ten games at the Bernabeu but what has become routine meetings to overcome before winning comfortably. Only Barcelona appears to be above that of whites. In this sense, the team's chances in the league go through to continue adding groups of three and wait for the face to face at the Nou Camp to close the gap and leave Madrid 'touched' psychologically. Pep, of course, seems the most ready to reverse the situation.

The calendar also punishes Barça

The Copa del Rey and expect Valencia to Barcelona, ​​while Real Madrid two weeks comfort resting and watching the semifinals via television. A relaxation that will last a week in the Champions League. Barca opens Mourinho's turn and wait seven days later. In summary, Guardiola will match every three days, while his rival, one per week. (via SPORT)

[Player Ratings; Liga BBVA; week21] Villarreal CF - FC Barcelona (0-0)

Víctor Valdés 7, Puyol 6, Piqué 5, Abidal 6, Sergio Busquets 8, Mascherano 6, Xavi 5, Cesc 5, Alves 6, Messi 6, Adriano 7, Alexis 6, Thiago 6, Tello 8. (via SPORT)

Molina: "We tied against the best team in the world"

Villarreal coach, José Francisco Molina, was "pleased" with the point scored (0-0) against FC Barcelona, ​​"the best team in the world" and said his players have made "a great effort."

"I have given the luck (his players) because they have done a great job against a great team. We would have liked to win, but we're happy. The kids have given everything, worked hard, and maybe we missed having a little the ball more, worse in the end the truth is we are a bit complicated, "he told a news conference.

"Defensively we have been very good, very strong, very together and the Bar? To has had good opportunities and we also have had some, but not so clear, especially in the first half. We are happy because it has been a hard worker, a great effort from all players and of course I give them congratulations, "said the coach.

In fact, the Valencia coach believes that actions how are you reinforce staff morale. "It's not so black a picture, but we have always tried to do with optimism. We have always tried to make the players see the situation as is, but calmly, cheerfully and always expecting the best," he said.

"They work as worked today, showing that they are great players, as they are showing in recent games and gradually go out of that situation. If we can make it faster, it's better, but quietly. Surely the good work , we will, we will be more calm and see things clearer yet, "he said.

On the other hand, and regarding the Bar? A, Molina emphasized the potential. "The Bar? A is the best team in the world and today has shown, but opposite today also found a great team that has made things difficult and to which has failed to win. That of course does not mean that Bar? to not be the best because it says the statistics. He has won everything and therefore is the best, "he concluded. (via AS)

Messi: “There is a lot left and we'll keep on trying until the end"

The FC Barcelona players believe that the fourth consecutive league title is still within reach despite tonight’s draw with Villareal. “The second half of the season just started and there are many points still in play,” said the three-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Despite tonight’s draw at El Madrigal against Villareal, Leo Messi is hopeful about Barça’s chances of winning La Liga: “there is still a lot left and we have to keep on going. All of the tournaments are important to us and we will try to win them all; the second part of the season just started, there are many points still in play.” The Argentinean didn’t attribute tonight’s draw to the team’s many absences: “the team is made up of whoever is here and we’ll keep on moving forward until the end.” In regards to tonight’s match, the striker explained that “at times it was difficult for us to play our game, we especially weren’t on target. We needed a touch of luck.”

Cesc Fàbregas said, “the ball didn’t want to go in, despite having control of the game in every moment.” The midfielder also called for unity: “we must be more united than ever, we must believe that a comeback is possible. We have to keep on working.”

Leadership from the captain

Carles Puyol’s response was passionate and charismatic: “the team will react; we’ll do more, whatever we must to win. There are no excuses, the players are used to playing every three days and La Liga is not lost. We will not give up.”

Dani Alves echoed his captain: “we don’t give up on anything here, we’ll fight until the end, always until the end.” The defender, who played farther up the pitch tonight, admitted that “seven points is a significant disadvantage,” but he was clear that “we’ve achieved much more difficult things and we must keep on trying.” The Brazilian believes that FC Barcelona is especially having difficulties away from the Camp Nou: “away from home it’s a challenge for us to find equilibrium.”

Here are some of the statements made by the players after the match:

Valdés: “we had chances up until the end, but Diego López had a sensational match. La Liga is not lost.”

Busquets: “there is no way we are going to give up on La Liga.” (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Tello debuts in La Liga

The reserve side striker, who played his first match under Guardiola in the Cup against Hospitalet, played in his first La Liga game tonight. The 20-year-old youngster said that it was “great to be able to play”.

Tonight at El Madrigal Cristian Tello made his debut in the Liga. The striker, who was one of the four youngsters from the reserve side called by Guardiola to travel with the first team to Villareal, came onto the pitch in the 75th minute. The player needed only 18 minutes on the field to change the dynamic of the match. After the game Tello said that he was “happy with his performance, but it was tarnished by the draw.” He added that “I was comfortable [on the pitch] and I’m grateful to the boss for his confidence. It was great to be able to play.”

This was Tello’s first match in the Spanish top flight but his debut with the first team came in the Cup against Hospitalet. The Catalan striker started in the away match of the round of 32 and he also played in the return leg. He scored two of Barça’s nine goals at the Camp Nou that day. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Dani Alves: "No goal we can't win"

The Brazilian complained about the lack of goal for his team and acknowledged that they are not the same as last year. "We're not getting the balance of last year," he said.

The right back of Barcelona, ​​Dani Alves, lamented after the match for not being able to get the winning goal. "We have not checked, but this team has done a great job. No goal can not win," he said.

On the way they are this season, in relation to the past, Alves said: "We're not getting the balance of last year, we did uphold the points earned at home is becoming more difficult."

Finally, he spoke of the seven-point difference now separating them behind leaders Real Madrid: "This is not pulling anything, it goes all the way and always to the end. It is an advantage but I have seen things more difficult and we must follow. " (via AS)

Guardiola: “we will fight until the end”

The manager said that there are still 18 matches to be played in the Liga and that he guarantees that the team will fight for every point like they did at El Madrigal.

Guardiola is proud of his team’s behaviour during the game especially after the effort put in during the midweek Cup match.

After the goalless draw with Villareal, the distance between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid is now seven points. Josep Guardiola said that in the league “18 games remain” to be played, and he guarantees that his players “will try to fight for every point like they did tonight.” Along the same lines, the manager is clear that his team “will fight until the end” and that the only thing that he can guarantee is that “after the effort given the other day [in the Cup] that the team can come to a historic stadium like this one and behave the way they did.”

Guardiola considers that Barça played “an excellent game” at El Madrigal, the only thing that was lacking was “putting the ball in.” He added: “I’m very satisfied with the excellent response from the players after the other day’s effort. Our first 15 or 18 minutes were very good, we generated chances. After that the game got a bit out of hand. The second half was excellent. They had one chance through Senna, no chances after that.”

The manager insisted that his team put in the effort to win the match: “we did everything and more to win. We did everything to win. We shot on goal, we opened up the field, we controlled their strong points . . . In this league we’ve tied a couple of games that we deserved to win and today is an example of that. We cannot forget that we played against an excellent opponent that played very well.”

The Cup match, according to Guardiola, “didn’t have an effect on the team” in tonight’s match. “It was evident at the end of the game. “There are a lot of expectations on us, but we prefer to be in all the competitions. We have a lot of matches, for the last four years we’ve had games every three or four days, the players are used to it. Now we will pick ourselves up and we’ll fight for the Cup,” said Guardiola. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Liga BBVA; Week21] Villarreal CF 0 - 0 FC Barcelona

A hard working display from Barça wasn’t enough to see off Villarreal in a hard fought game the visitors had the best chances in, including a shot against the woodwork from Cesc on 78 minutes.

Hit hard by injuries and maybe feeling the after-effects of their midweek exertions, Barça dropped two points at El Madrigal, despite fighting till the very end and with all means at their disposal. Villarreal proved to be a demanding opponent, belying their poor position in the table, disrupting Barça's game in the first half and defending valiantly after the break as Guardiola's men upped the pressure. Cesc hit the woodwork and Messi had his chances towards the end, but luck wasn't on Barça's side and despite all their hard work they now find themselves seven points behind leaders Real Madrid, who earlier beat Zaragoza 3-1.

Guardiola began the game with six possible defenders, but with a three man defence – Piqué, Puyol and Abidal - as Mascherano began in midfield and Adriano and Alves were used to maraud down the flanks. The first exchanges all went Barça's way - with 94% of possession by the seventh minute- and Alves (on 2 minutes) and Messi(on 17) both had good chances, but the Brazilian's shot was turned wide and Messi's crafty chip went just inches wide.

Villarreal gradually began to find a way into the game after withstanding the initial onslaught though, and with Cani and Borja Valero both taking no prisoners – with 15 fouls in the first 45 minutes – they began to create their own danger. Mascherano was forced to clear with Valdes beaten on 27 minutes and soon after Marco Rubén should have done better to round off a quick counter attack. There was even a disallowed goal from Gonzalo for a clear offside as the hosts enjoyed their best moments, forcing Guardiola to drop Mascherano into a back four.

Villarreal continued to trouble Barça after the break - with a big shout for a penalty on Borja by Busquets – until the Champions again lifted their game and began to spread the ball wide for Adriano, who saw one excellent cross go begging in the absence of a clear striker up front. Guardiola then brought on Alexis for Piqué to offer more penetration and Barça were now back in control and the chances began to flow as they laid siege to the Villarreal area.

The last 15 minutes saw Villarreal pinned back in their half, desperately trying to waste time and run the clock down as Guardiola threw on the incisive Tello and Thiago to try and get the winning goal. Barça went at the task with plenty of commitment, but they were out of luck when Cesc hit the bar after great play from Tello on 78 minutes and Messi again found Villarreal keeper Diego López up to the job on 86 minutes. The team never let their heads drop and kept on looking for the win till the end – something they are sure to do till the end of the season! (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Match Stats]
Villarreal Diego López, Ángel, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Joan Oriol, Cani (Castellani, m.72), Bruno Soriano, Borja Valero, Marcos Senna (Marchena, m.89), Marco Ruben (Camuñas, m.83) and Joselu.

FC Barcelona Víctor Valdés, Puyol, Piqué (Alexis, m.61), Mascherano, Abidal, Dani Alves, Busquets, Xavi (Tiago, m.77) Adriano (Tello, m.77) Cesc Fábregas and Messi.

Goal: -

Referee: José Antonio Teixeira Vitienes (Cantabrian committee). Admonished for Villarreal to Musacchio, Marco Rubén, Joan Oriol, Joselu and Gonzalo and for Barcelona to Dani Alves.

Incidents: Match at El Madrigal stadium in Villarreal before 22,000 spectators. Pitch in good condition. They observed a minute's silence in memory of Jose Navarro, formerly of Villarreal's youth trained in Barcelona, ​​and Dani Montesinos, a reporter for the Sixth, who died in a motorcycle accident.

[Barça B; Liga Adelante; Week22] FC Barcelona B 4 - 2 SD Huesca

Eusebio Sacristan's dominated the first half without much difficulty, but have had to face the pressure of the Aragonese in the second half goals from Riverola, Rodri and Kiko Femenía have given victory to the subsidiary.

Barça B has chained his second consecutive win against SD Huesca in Miniestadi. Eusebio Sacristan's team has quietly dominated the game in the first half, but in the second part of the Aragonese have come out with more intensity on the field and things have hampered the azulgranas, who have finished by a narrow 3-2 win .

Riverola was the opener of a match completely dominated by the club. Eusebio Sacristan The have advanced rapidly in the marker, as in the second 32, the Barca midfielder has signed the first goal of the day taking advantage of a rebound from goalkeeper Luis Garcia SD Huesca, who had just shot Deulofeu refuse .

After the first goal, the chances for Barca subsidiary have not stopped coming, like a 5-minute Muniesa, who has been close to scoring the second head, and another two minutes later on a fielder's Deulofeu counterattack that has kicking but the ball is out wide.

However, the second goal has not been slow in coming. Rodri who has been at the exit of a corner, has advanced to the defense of Aragon and has topped a low cross, and signing it 2-0 on 14 minutes. Kiko Femenía marked the third only a few minutes later, taking advantage of a bad goalkeeper rejected. Rafinha, in minute 44, has been ready to increase the gap on the scoreboard, but the ball is over the crossbar, and the party has gone 3-0 at the break.

In the second half, Huesca has pushed more strongly to the azulgranas and has managed to score his first goal a few minutes later, a corner move that has not missed Bauza and has topped head. Deulofeu had a good opportunity to widen the gap on 59 minutes in an individual move by the band that ended with a great center, but no one has gone before.

In minute 62, Tariq has made ​​the second goal in another move Aragonese corner. The front of the visiting team has topped head and signed it 3-2. However, despite the tight result, Barça continued to control the game, and Rodri, in minute 79, has left the scoring sentenced Barca new target thanks to a great move for Rafinha. In minute 85, Dongou , player the Junior A , made ​​his debut with the reserves Barca .

The azulgranas will try Ahead to add a new victory against Villarreal B next week in the 23rd day of Liga Adelante. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Match Stats]
Barcelona B Oier; Montoya, Armando, Bartra, Planas; Muniesa, Rafinha, Riverola; Deulofeu (Lobato, min. 80), Femenía (Espinosa, min. 65) and Rodri (Dongou, min. 85).

Huesca Luís García; Llamas, Josetxo, Ochoa, Clavero; Helguera, Bauzá (Camacho, min. 75), Jokin, Omar (Molina, min. 75) ; David and Tariq.

Referee: Eduardo Prieto Iglesias (Navarro College). Admonished local Montoya (min. 75) and visiting Tariq (min. 60), Omar (min. 64), Ochoca (min. 76) and Helguera (min. 79) and expelled for double admonishment to Clavero (min. 67 and 89).

Goals: 1-0, min. 1: Riverola, 2-0, min. 14: Rodri. 3-0, min. 23: Femenía. 3-1, min. 49: Bauzá. 3-2, min. 62: Tariq. 4-2, min. 78: Rodri.

Incidents: 1801 spectators at the Mini Estadi. Before the start of the meeting observed a minute of silence for the death in a car accident sports journalist Daniel Montesinos, currently covering the club azulgrana.

Travelling to Castellón by train

Guardiola’s team departed from Benicassim from Sants Estació at 10:30. Pedro, who is injured, did not travel with the team. Alexis, however, is responding well to treatment and was included in Guardiola’s list.

Barça’s first team is on its way to play today’s match (22.00) against Villareal. The Azulgranas left Sants Estació on a train headed for Benicassim. From there, Guardiola’s men will complete the trip to Castellón by coach.

Pedro did not travel with the team because of niggle problems with his left leg, but Alexis, who is responding well to treatment, was included in the Spanish strikers stead.

Barça arrived at the Hotel Luz Castellón at 13.15. 500 supporters were there to greet the team. (via FCBarcelona.cat)