Sunday, 7 December 2008

Barcelona vs Valencia 4-0, Guardiola Happy...

Josep Guardiola has always been quick to quell enthusiasm about his side's excellent performances, but even he admitted to being impressed by Barcelona's 4-0 win over Valencia.

Guardiola Praises Barcelona After Mauling Valencia

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Guardiola said, "I am the first to be surprised. But there is still a long way to go."

Before the match, Guardiola had requested the local media to calm their praise of his team, fearing that it might lead to overconfidence. After seeing his side demolish one of their toughest rivals, however, he simply said, "You write whatever you think is correct." In that case, it is fair to say that Barcelona were simply breathtaking.

Pep was quick to return to his usual stance though, stating, "It is only December 7 and there is a long road ahead. Bad times will come and I hope that the fans will support us then, because we play for them, not us."

The result opened up a six-point gap at the top of the table, after Villarreal only managed one point at home to Getafe. Guardiola was pleased that his side managed to exploit the opportunity.

"We scored many goals and they did not have many chances," he said. "Our group has great solidarity and determined players.

"We have now created a slightly greater distance between us and Villarreal."

Understandably, the hat-trick hero, Thierry Henry, was the subject of much discussion, and the Barca coach praised him for the "perfect position" that he played on the pitch.

"He played with great boldness, saying 'Here I am.' I am very pleased," continued Guardiola.

Seeing Lionel Messi being substituted is a rare sight, but the Argentine was taken off with approximately 10 minutes remaining. Guardiola explained the decision, saying, "I am pleased with his performance. I took him off because I didn't want him to get injured.

"He has incredible ambition, and this is why he was disappointed when I took him off, because such players are always upset when they are replaced."

When asked if this was his side's best performance so far, Pep responded by saying that there is "always something you can improve on, although the applause of the fans shows the effort and dedication my players showed".

Inevitably, the questions started to turn towards next weekend's clash with Real Madrid, but all Guardiola would say was, "Our next match is against Shakhthar Donetsk."

That may be so, but it would surprise no-one if the press conference ahead of that encounter contained more questions about Real Madrid than the Ukrainian team.

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