Pep Guardiola. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ (FCB).

With a little more than 24 hours to go before the clásico at the Bernabéu, Pep Guardiola attended the pre-match press conference at the Camp Nou and explained how Barça plans to face Madrid. “I haven’t told the players anything new from past years. I haven’t asked for anything special. I’ve only asked them to be bold and to interpret the game ...  We’ve always gone there with the intention of being ambitious and winning the match. Without being bold you cannot hope do to well.”

Maximum concentration

At the same time, Guardiola indicated that the team must maximise its effort at the Bernabéu: “We must defend well, have good transitions, move the ball around well, find spaces, and be attentive and quick ... even with all of this we must be sharp.” The manager said that in past few days the technical staff has been focused “on maximising their understanding of Madrid and their possible tactical variations.” Guardiola also said that Tito Vilanova will decide if he will travel with the team tomorrow to Madrid.

He expects Madrid to pressure high up the pitch

In regards to tomorrow’s rival, Pep Guardiola considers that “they have improved on their positioning on the pitch.” He also believes that Madrid plans to play similarly to previous clásicos: “I think they will come out to pressure high up the pitch, they’ve done well in the past with this strategy, but we will be ready for any situation.” He added: “Last year we played against each other five times. I haven’t forgotten what happened then or in the Super Cup. We know each other well and we have to play a near perfect game to beat them.”

“We have a lot to play for”

Logically, the manager declined to reveal his line-up for tomorrow, but he did say: “They [the squad] are all doing perfectly well, they are ready and mentally prepared. What I do have decided is how we are going to play.”

Finally, Guardiola said: “Whoever is behind always needs it a little bit more. It’s obvious that we have a lot to play for. The game won’t be definitive, but it is important. If you aren’t aware of the importance of a match at the Barnabéu, it’s difficult to come away with anything positive.”

Karanka doesn't show Real Madrid's cards

During today’s press conference in Madrid, Aitor Karanka, assistant coach to Jose Mourinho, declined to say if Madrid will play with their classic three defensive midfielders or if Mesut Özil will feature in the starting line-up. But he did confirm that their system wouldn’t change, it will be a 4-3-3, with Ángel Di María and Cristiano Ronaldo on the wings.

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