Sunday, 4 December 2011
We need fans' support
Barcelona tactician Pep Guardiola has pleaded with the Nou Camp faithful to “stand by” the team following their 5-0 demolition of Levante.
Although the Catalan side dismantled an unheralded Levante side thanks to goals from Cesc Fabregas, Isaac Cuenca, Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez on Saturday, Guardiola urged his troops to maintain their momentum and even relayed a message to the club's fans.
"We've scored five goals against the fourth placed team in the League, but it's true that after everything we've accomplished nothing we do seems like much," the Barça manager said according to the club's official website.
Referring to the club's desire for continued support and encouragement from the fans, he hoped that they do not turn against his charges when the going gets tough, saying, "These players don't deserve that, they've given a lot to this club."
Looking ahead to next week's explosive El-Clasico encounter against Real Madrid, Guardiola believed that nothing has been decided yet with regards to the La Liga title chase at this juncture of the campaign.
"There's a lot left, regardless of what happens in the near future. This thing is long and we have to persevere," he said.
"There isn't a game where I do not come to any conclusions, it's impossible not to. The fact that we did well tonight doesn't mean we'll do well tomorrow, because Madrid plays differently."
"It's very difficult, not only against Madrid but against any other club in the world."
"The challenge is to have the other team submit and to have more comfortable possession of the ball so we can attack. But against Madrid, getting them to submit for long spells of time is practically impossible."
Guardiola also reserved special mention for precocious youngster Isaac Cuenca, who curled home a sensational effort after neat interplay by Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.
"He makes everyone else better. He's very intelligent and he knows his function within the team perfectly," Guardiola remarked.
The Barcelona boss also confirmed that assistant coach Tito Vilanova will not make the trip to Japan ahead of Barcelona's participation in the FIFA Club World Cup competition.
42-year-old Vilanova underwent surgery on a salivary gland prior to Barcelona's clash against AC Milan in late November.
"In the end, he's the most significant absentee we have. He will not be coming to Japan, he'll stay here to recuperate," Guardiola said.
However, he'll try to come to the Bernabéu if he gets a chance. The most positive thing is that he's getting better each day."
Saturday's proceedings see Barcelona sitting in second place in the La Liga standings on 34 points, three behind Real Madrid with the latter still having a game in hand.