“We’re playing for the League on Saturday”, reminded Guardiola
Barça's coach Josep Guardiola hasn’t been distracted by Mourinho's controversy and the complaints before UEFA. On Saturday, FC Barcelona can go a big step further to the league title at Anoeta, and the coach guarantees that his players’ only concern is that game.
Barcelona (FCB).- He didn\u2019t want to answer any questions with respect to next Tuesday\u2019s Champions League semi final, because for him right now, the league is the \u201Cabsolute priority. We have to be very aware that much of the league title depends on what we do at what is always a tough ground. If we don\u2019t focus our five senses on that, we won\u2019t do it. Tomorrow we\u2019re playing for a competition that lasts 11 months. It was hard against Almeria, against Osasuna, and I sense this game will also be difficult. Mathematically we are seven points away from the league title and every win means a huge step\u201D.
He went on to say that \u201Cwe have to find strength from wherever, we know that if we win we\u2019ll practically be there\u201D. He is asking his players for a special effort, but \u201Cthey know that we are playing for the most important title of the year, one which shows regularity, effort and work, and that makes you feel the proudest. With the league title so close, there is no such thing as distractions. These three points can take us nearer to the title. At this point, there is no such thing as either physical or mental tiredness\u201D.
Not letting go
Guardiola said that after Anoeta, Barça will host Espanyol, and he would rather go into the derby with the same lead they have now. \u201CPlaying the derby with an 8-point lead would be comforting. It is the competition that we are most excited about and I don\u2019t want to lose it through our own fault, or for us to do that because our minds are on other things. If we win tomorrow, the job is almost done\u201D.
Support for FC Barcelona Board
Asked about the official complaint issued by FC Barcelona against Real Madrid and José Mourinho\u2019s accusations in his post-match press conference at the Bernabéu stadium, the manager said: \u201CI can only support the decisions of the Board of Directors. I defend my institution. I have always been supported by the club\u2019s directors. I have never felt alone or unprotected.\u201D
Asked about the next opponents, Real Sociedad, Guardiola said \u201Cthey are a similar team to that in the first match. They\u2019re enthusiastic. They\u2019re an intense team, who play well down the wings. In Tamudo they have a striker who always scores goals and they have some local players that will want to make sure their team stays in the first division\u201D.
He ended by mentioning four specific players. Puyol has not been picked so he can get some rest. Messi has taken a couple of knocks and didn\u2019t train on Friday, and so \u201Cwe\u2019ll have a look on Saturday and make our evaluation \u2026 but I don\u2019t want my players to reserve anything because of things we have to do in the future\u201D. Sergi Roberto, who is in the squad, he described as having \u201Cstrength and a promising future\u201D. And as for a possible return of Abidal, Guardiola said \u201CI\u2019d never play him unless there was a 0% chance of any risk\u201D.