Guardiola: “We’re playing to win and to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals”

The Barça manager will not instruct his team to play defensively to protect the 1-3 lead they have over the Bayer Leverkusen. Guardiola admits that the Champions League “is a beautiful competition that allows us to take a break from the Spanish League”. On Piqué’s controversy related to the referees’ actions, Guardiola completely agrees with the FC Barcelona’s stance.

Anna Segura

March 7, 2012 04:38 PM

Barcelona (FCB).- Despite the 1-3 result in the away leg, Pep Guardiola doesn’t believe the tie against Bayer 04 Leverkusen is over. The FC Barcelona manager reminded the packed press room of how difficult it was against Real Madrid in the return leg of the Spanish Cup, despite winning 1-2 at the Bernabéu. “This year’s trap is that we’ve earned a better result than last year,” he said. Guardiola said that “we must play a good game; we can’t go out to defend, we have to try to win and qualify for the quarter-finals.”

Aware of the Leverkusen's pace

The Barça manager is very aware of the dangers that Bayer 04 bring to pitch. “Their pace, their arear play, dead balls, that's what makes them dangerous.” Gaurdiola talked about Bayer 04’s game plan in the second half at the Bay Arena to highlight what his team should expect tomorrow: “when we let them run like in the second half [of the away leg], they’re stronger. We have to try to slow them down a bit and command the game in our side of the pitch.” Guardiola is wary of the team led by Robin Dutt, who said that his team has nothing to lose and everything to win in the FC Barcelona vs Bayer Leverkusen game: “like any good German side, they never give up on anything. It appears as though they’re out of the match but suddenly they create goalscoring chances.”

A break from La Liga

Guardiola has the chance to take his team to the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the fourth year in a row. The manager recognised that the continental competition is good for his team: “it’s a beautiful competition that allows us to make a clean break from La Liga. We’ll try to stay in the competition by playing a good game.”

He agrees with the Club’s stance

“I completely agree with Toni Freixas (the Spokesperson of the FC Barcelona’s board),” said Guardiola when asked about the Freixas’ press conference. “We aren’t saying whether we agree or not on if Piqué should be punished, we want to know what the rules are. It appears as though the Board never does anything right, but we just want to know what criteria are used by the Committee to ban players.”

On Gerard Piqué’s statements after he was ejected from this weekend’s match, Guardiola believes that every player should be held responsible for what they do. “If you limit them in the press room, you limit them on the pitch.”

Spanish Cup final in Atlético de Madrid’s satadium

The RFEF designated the Atlético de Madrid’s Vicente Calderón as the venue for the Spanish Cup final. The Barça manager said that “if the other finalist wasn’t Barça, I’m sure Athletic Club would have played in the Bernabéu” (Real Madrid’s stadium).