Guardiola delighted with Barcelona character
Monday 30 November 2009
"Pep Guardiola is a bit like Cervantes" one Spanish journalist had written on the morning of Barça versus Madrid. "Cervantes did not invent the Spanish language but nobody has ever used it better."
No one in Barcelona is claiming their stylish young coach has reinvented the sport but his team keep putting in performances that few have seen the like of before. Guardiola keeps getting it right and Barcelona's triumphs can no longer be attributed to first-season good fortune or having a talented set of players.
He has taken a side with sparkle and given them steel and never more was that tough exterior needed as last night when they had to protect a 1-0 lead for the last half an hour against the might of Real Madrid. In truth they never tried to protect it, searching instead for the second goal. A Gerard Pique header and a Lionel Messi shot brilliantly saved by Iker Casillas nearly extended the lead given them by Ibrahimovic in the second half.
The former Internazionale player another of Guardiola's success story. There were many who doubted he would get the big-game goals Samuel Eto'o used to bag but last night he delivered – brought on at the right moment in the game but Guardiola.
"We showed great character to play the last half an hour with 10 men," said the Barcelona manager. "Four points would have been a big difference and so it was crucial that we won the game to move a point clear of them again. We have won one match. Whether we can go on and win the title is another question. But the most difficult games against Real Madrid are the ones such as this one when we are the clear favourites. It was a real test for us and we came through it.
"They have so much quality individually and as a team but we always faced them head on. Even when we went down to 10 men [Dani] Alves kept going forward when he could in the second half. He kept wanting to attack. He has the physical capacity to go forward and get back and we have others who can drop back to fill the hole."
"We deserved at least a point," said the Real Madrid coach, Manuel Pellegrini. "Ronaldo and Benzema had great opportunities but we couldn't just find the goal we needed."
The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president
Latest in Sport
Brooklyn Beckham poses in Arsenal training kit following rumours of signing for the Gunners
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer news LIVE: Manchester United to make £37m Mats Hummels bid; Inter plan Yaya Toure move; Shola Ameobi joins Crystal Palace
Australian Open 2015: Novak Djokovic vs Stan Wawrinka match preview
Danny Ings to Liverpool: The Reds attempt to steal a march on rivals in race to sign Burnley striker
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures