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Guardiola: “Against Athletic Bilbao it’ll be a demanding game but good to watch”

FC Barcelona Manager, Pep Guardiola, foresees an intense Spanish League match against Athletic Bilbao, a team that he qualified as the “Sensation of Europe”. Guardiola recognises that all teams need days of recovery between matches, but he believes that Bielsa’s squad will give their all on Saturday at the Camp Nou, despite having played on Thursday.


30 March 2012 08:27 PM


Anna Segura

Barcelona (FCB).- Josep Guardiola, Barça Manager, believes the his team will do well not to think that Athletic Bilbao are coming to the Camp Nou with the 'handicap' of having played 48 hours earlier, in their Europa League match. Guardiola, who watched Bilbao\u2019s win against Schalke, said that the Basque outfit \u201Cis used to working at maximum effort. They are educated to believe that they can do more\u201D. He also thinks that they won\u2019t come out at the FC Barcelona\u2019s Camp Nou thinking more about the European game than this one. \u201CThey can win, lose, or draw, but they can dominate in games and always have chances to win them\u201D.

Guardiola recognises that for both Barça and Athletic it\u2019s better to have more rest days between matches, but accepts that \u201Cthe schedule is what it is\u2026\\u2019s better to have three or four days rest but teams that want to reach Finals have to play lots of games, one after another, in this situation\u201D he said.

Careful with Athletic

FC Barcelona\u2019s Coach was once again full of praise for Marcelo Bielsa, the Athletic Bilbao Manager. \u201CI think he\u2019s the best and believe me it\u2019s a pleasure for me to go up against him\u201D he said. Given that, he recognises Bielsa\u2019s role in taking Bilbao to the top and didn\u2019t hesitate in saying that \u201Cthey are the sensation of Europe. They\u2019ve earned the right to have the admiration of everyone\u201D.

About the dangers of the next opponent, Guardiola has watched Bilbao\u2019s last few games, as well as Barça\u2019s game in Bilbao in the first part of the season. \u201CThey usually play with the same players. The matches I've seen are a pleasure for the spectator. It\u2019ll be a really tough game, very demanding for the players, but good to watch\u201D.

A good test

Athletic Bilbao, and Barça\u2019s situation coming into this match, with the Champions League qualifier in between, is a good stress test for Guardiola if they want to win more titles. \u201CIf we want to be champions of the League, the Cup, or Europe, we have to overcome these circumstances. Overcoming them is the only way, bearing in mind possible difficulties. We have to look forward and take another step\u201D.

But first of all the players have to be mentally prepared for the game this Saturday, and not the Milan match. \u201CIf we\u2019d been focused on another match and not the next one, we wouldn\u2019t have won 13 out of 16 titles\u201D. So now it\u2019s the Athletic Bilbao match, and from Sunday there'll be time to focus on the return leg of the Champions League.

Gambling on youth

Both FC Barcelona and Athletic Club are two teams that have gambled strongly on their youth systems. The manager believes that the difference with other clubs who also have good youth systems \u201Cis that we pick them\u201D.


  • Barça Manager, Pep Guardiola, adressing the press before the FC Barcelona vs Athletic de Bilbao League game (by FC Barcelona)

  • Barça Manager, Pep Guardiola, adressing the press before the FC Barcelona vs Athletic de Bilbao League game (by FC Barcelona)