The Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola last night declared an intent to show the world, at the end of his first season as coach, how good his side are. "I want the players to feel good and to feel they are playing in front of the whole world; to be daring and show why we've been so successful this season," he said of his side, who have won the Spanish league and cup double and have played some dazzling football on route.
Guardiola, who said he was "confident" about the prospect of Thierry Henry and Andres Iniesta being fit for the final, was nonchalant about his comparative lack of experience in the coaching stakes when compared to Manchester United's manager Sir Alex Ferguson. "Definitely [Ferguson] has more experience than me," he said. "Absolutely, no doubt. I don't know his influence on the game, I've seen Manchester United many times and I know how we are going to play against them. I will try to be calm and focused in the first half because half time gives the most important words for the second half."
Guardiola said he is prepared to play Iniesta and Henry. "It's no risk," he said. "It's the last game [of the season]. If they play they are OK, if they are not OK they will not play. Of course, I'm confident they are here with us. We are going to see their condition but we are confident."
*Manchester United gave the first indication yesterday that they may be willing to climb down over the price being demanded for the striker Carlos Tevez and strike a deal with his rights owner Kia Joorabchian to keep him at Old Trafford. United's chief executive David Gill, who has previously suggested that the demands for Tevez were unrealistic, said in an interview at United's hotel in Rome that the remaining £25.5m being asked was the going rate for such a player and a figure that his club would have to pay to keep him.