Guardiola in the press room at the Ciutat Esportiva / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Pep Guardiola warned that Atlético Madrid has completely changed under the tutelage of El Cholo Simeone on the Colchonero bench. “Simeone has changed the dynamic [of the team],” said the Barça manager, “it’s obvious that the team has the manager’s mark.” Guardiola said that the Atlético Madrid side “has a soul, they are intense, aggressive ... all of the players work and put in a strong effort.” The manager believes that the Atlético players’ attitude is a reflection of Simeone’s attitude when he was a footballer. “You watch the team, it’s an expression of their manager. His strong and intense take on the game when he was a footballer has been transmitted to his team.”

Guardiola believes that he’s prepared his team well ahead of the visit to the Vicente Calderón. In order to win, Guardiola believes that the team “must avoid [Atlético] counterattacks and not allow them to attack us on the wings, [we must] try and play in a way that favours this team. We’ll have little time to think, we’ll have to be alert, brilliant, and skilled.”

Objective: take one game at a time

“When a team is 10 points behind the leaders the mindset isn’t to mount a comeback.” Guardiola knows that it won’t be easy to fight back and cut into Real Madrid’s lead, therefore the objective from now on is to “win each game” as they come. He added that “our plan is to be calm and try to win the match. We can't focus on anything else.” He added: “in this house there is always pressure but they [they players] know that they can’t give up. The Liga is complicated, we have to take it a game at a time.” The manager said that the team’s outlook until the end of the season should be one of “joy because of what we’ve done so far this year, and believe that we can play at the level we’ve played at this whole time.”

“In terms of play we’re at a high level”

Guardiola believes that his team’s level of play this season isn’t different compared to past seasons. “The tendency has been to play at a high level, without too many up and downs,” said the manager.

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