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Guardiola, during the game against Zaragoza / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Despite the international break, Barça roared back onto the La Liga scene with a 4-0 thrashing of Zaragoza. It’s always “hard to play League games after the international break,” said Xavi, but Barça’s play was enchanting nonetheless. With this win over Zaragoza, Barça has now scored 30 goals in the Camp Nou this season without conceding any. Josep Guardiola said the key to this success is largely due to “the players. After the beating they take with their national teams, they come back to Barcelona and run their hearts out.” He added, “I'm very surprised with the positive mental state they returned with.”

In the post-game press conference, the manager analysed the form of many of his players. First, he talked about Messi, “he gives the team so many things in the position he plays. I was worried about the knock he received, but he told me he was fine, so I decided to leave him on the pitch.”

Total confidence in the squad

The manager also reiterated the confidence he has in David Villa, and highlighted the importance of starting him on the bench, “when I say I’m confident in David, it’s because I truly am. I don’t have to justify my decision of not starting him every time.” Guardiola also reminded reporters of the amount of playing time Villa had with the Spanish national squad. The manager went on to say, “not everyone can play, but I have confidence in all of them. I know the players and I know what they bring to the team.”

Guardiola also praised the ovation that the Camp Nou gave Barça’s number '7' when he ran onto the pitch: “It was fantastic. The Camp Nou is generous with all the players, and tonight they were generous with Villa. It makes me happy for him. Villa is always very direct, tonight he did it again.”

After talking about Cesc Fabregas’ job on the pitch, Guardiola went on to praise the defensive pair, Carles Puyol and Gerard Piqué. Finally he talked about Alexis Sánchez, “he’s adapted really well, but he’s been off the field for eight weeks, that’s almost two summer vacations. That’s a long time to be out, especially considering he just got here. He has qualities that no one has. He’s strong and he holds the ball well. With time, he’ll be more attune to the team’s play.”

Bartomeu: “The team is very eager”

Barça's first Vice President, Josep Maria Bartomeu, highlighted the players “eagerness to play” after the international break. Bartomeu was also very pleased with the squad’s “quality of play.” He went on to say that “we got a very good result and the team played really well. The fans saw a spectacular match with a lot of chances. We have a good feeling about this team.” Bartomeu, praised the team play that characterises the squad, and also mentioned next Wednesday’s Champions League match in Milan: “It will be a tough game, but we’ll go to Milan with a squad that’s feeling good and eager to play.”


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