Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hollow Victory For Barcelona

This is what I picked up from the Malay Mail. It aptly captures what had happened during the match which turned ugly as Inter celebrated progress into the Champions League final in Madrid. Guardiola explains how the dismissal of Inter's Thiago Motta disrupted his team's focus and team play.


Humbled Guardiola says Barcelona must focus on Primera Liga 

Thursday, April 29th, 2010 10:48:00

BARCELONA: Disappointed Barcelona manager Josep "Pep" Guardiola congratulated Inter Milan but noted the dismissal of midfielder Thiago Motta in the 28th minute worked against his team as the Catalans were knocked out of Champions League at the semifinal stage at Nou Camp this morning.

84th minute — Xavi slots the ball down the left to Pique,
who is right on the edge of offside.
He's through on goal and turns brilliantly to sell a dummy to Cordoba
and Cesar and slots into an empty goal.

Defending champions Barca needed to win by two goals in the second-leg semifinal to progress to the final at Santiago Bernabeu on May 22 but just managed to score a late goal through centreback Gerard Pique. Inter, who won the first leg 3-1 at San Siro last week, qualified 3-2 on aggregate.

"I am grateful for the pride of belonging to this club and to have this support. I feel bad for not getting to the final. We've tried and I'm proud of it. We have to apologise (to the fans). We can only congratulate Inter," said Guardiola.

"We tried to open the field and disrupt the one-on-one and build from crosses and rebounds, but we gave away many freekicks. We lacked continuity in the game and, through mistakes or whatever we failed to disrupt their one-on-one approach. When a team defend with nine, it's not easy to get through. We tried inside and outside, but attack is always the hardest and the goal came too late."

Guardiola admitted his players were disappointed but must try to refocus on the Primera Liga after the disappointment.

"We have had a good Champions League and it's a success to reach the semifinals. We'll try again next year. We have to recover in three days to go for the league. We have to get up.

"The dismissal of Thiago Motta influenced the game, because they sat back. Diego Milito and Samuel Eto'o moved to the wings. They set up a defensive line of almost six." Guardiola refused to criticise Inter boss Jose Mourinho's ultra defensive tactics, saying the winners are always right in their approach.

"Every team, every manager play the way they want. I can't judge the opponents. The winners are the ones that are right. We went to Milan in the first leg to play well and we could not for many reasons. We never gave up hope.

"Sometimes attacking is much more difficult than defending," he said.

"I'm not disappointed with my players and don't think we're victims of our own success. We have reached the semifinals in the Champions League and we have 87 points in the league, where we only lost one game.
"We know about winning and losing, because this club have lost much more than they won. And we have shown how to behave in victory and defeat."

When asked who he would be supporting in the final between Inter and Bayern Munich, he said: "I will be on vacation at that time."

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