FC Barcelona Manager: “It's impossible to be favourites against Real Madrid”
The balance of Pep Guardiola, FC Barcelona’s Manager, against Real Madrid is eight victories, three draws, and one defeat. Guardiola confirmed that Pinto will be the starting goalkeeper in the clásico and that his assistant, Tito Vilanova, will travel to Madrid.
Barcelona (FCB).- \u201CWhatever happened before this doesn\u2019t matter.\u201D That\u2019s how clear Josep Guardiola was when he was asked if FC Barcelona is favoured in this Wednesday\u2019s Spanish Cup match because of Barça\u2019s recent results against Real Madrid. The Barça boss will direct his team in what will be his 13th showdown against the all-whites since he arrived to the FC Barcelona bench. So far he\u2019s won eight of those matches, drawn three and only been defeated once. Guardiola, however, isn\u2019t thinking about past clásicos seeing that this Wednesday \u201Cwe\u2019re playing a new game.\u201D He also warned that Real Madrid \u201Cis the strongest rival that we could possibly come across\u201D and that against them \u201Cno one can feel as though they are favourites.\u201D
Guardiola echoed Xavi\u2019s point of view that Barça cannot afford to go to Madrid hoping to secure a draw even though it\u2019s a two-legged tie. \u201CYou\u2019re wasting your time if you go to Madrid to be prudent. The games there are eternal, and they run right over you.\u201D The manager said that \u201Cthe only way to get a good result and to have a chance in the tie is to go with the idea of winning the match.\u201D He recalled his playing days when Barça would visit Madrid saying, \u201Cif we played thinking that we had a return leg to play we\u2019d get burned.\u201D
Pinto to start
Guardiola confirmed that José Manuel Pinto, traditionally the starting keeper in the Copa del Rey (the Spanish Cup), will also start at Real Madrid\u2019s Bernabéu stadium this Wednesday night. \u201CI\u2019m planning on playing Pinto because he deserves it, he\u2019s an excellent keeper.\u201D The manager went on to say that \u201CI\u2019d betray myself and him\u201D if he didn\u2019t pick the Spaniard to start. He added, \u201CI don\u2019t doubt him. He doesn\u2019t participate as much but I don\u2019t believe anyone doubts him.\u201D Furthermore, FC Barcelona\u2019s deputy coach, Tito Vilanova, will also travel to Madrid. Vilanova has already been on the training pitch in the past days, after recovering from a serious surgery to remove a tumour. Guardiola was very pleased to announce Vilanova\u2019s presence.
Abidal\u2019s contract extension
The manager was pleased with the news about Abidal\u2019s contract renewal: \u201Cit\u2019s great news. Finding a player like him on the market is difficult. You know what I think about him as a person. He leaves his mark on people, and he\u2019s a fantastic player.\u201D The Barça boss said that having Abidal on the team allows for tactical flexibility and \u201Cvariance.\u201D
Guardiola congratulated FC Barcelona on the Cultural Formation Plan
Pep Guardiola congratulated the board of directors and the Catalan Government\u2019s Culture Ministry for implementing the Cultural Formation Plan for the residents of La Masía (FC Barcelona\u2019s football school). The objective of the plan is to enrich the academic and athletic lives of the young players. \u201COnly culture will get us out of the hole we\u2019re in. These things fill me with pride,\u201D said Guardiola.