Guardiola in pursuit of perfection
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola says his side must produce a ‘perfect game’ to defeat La Liga leaders and rivals Real Madrid on Saturday.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday ahead of El Clasico, the 40-year-old told reporters that he is expecting Jose Mourinho’s men to pursue their pressing approach at the Bernabeu.
“I get the impression that Madrid will opt to press. When someone achieves these results, it is normal they’ll play the same way. I’ll have to make a perfect game to win,” said Guardiola.
“It’s always (an) emotionally charged (occasion) to play on a field as large and imposing (as the Santiago Bernabeu). We’re going to the (league) leader’s home ground, to give everything we have and play the best game we possibly can.”
The pressure is on Barca, with Real Madrid leading their bitter rivals by three points with a game in hand.
But Guardiola believes that scenario is not weighing down his side.
“I do not think (Real being top of La Liga) will influence the game too much,” he said. “Playing in accordance with the league standings has no value.”
“The most important thing is knowing your opponent and knowing your strengths and weaknesses against them. We must be attentive to their positional play, their strategy and their counterattacks.”
The Barcelona manager then concluded the press conference by praising his Madrid coach Jose Mourinho’s attention to detail.
Guardiola touched on the Champions League 2009/10 semi-final clash, when the Portuguese boss’ Inter side overcame Barca, and predicted that the quest for three points on Saturday will create an intriguing match in the capital.
“We played against a great champion in Inter then. Madrid always demand (a lot of you) and Mourinho is a highly prepared coach, but I am not tired of playing against them,” he said.
“The two will play to win, then we’ll see how it ends. We must be fluid and functional. It won’t easy, because they are an intense team, who force you back and go after you.”
Sat 10 December, 2011