Guardiola, durant l'entrenament d'aquest divendres / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

The game this Saturday at the Camp Nou will be somewhat atypical. Without Messi, Busquets and Abidal, FC Barcelona will have to face a Sporting Gijón led by a veteran of the Spanish League, Javier Clemente: “His teams are difficult to beat. They are aggressive, direct and they have character.” The Barça manager, however, isn’t anticipating a physical match. “In the [Spanish] nation side he never told us to go out to interrupt the game. In a good sense, he’s intense and aggressive,” Guardiola said during the today’s pre-match press conference.

A style that cannot be applied

Tomorrow’s match will highlight two different types of game play. The possession and control style typical of FC Barcelona against the direct game play employed by the Asturians. “I know how Clemente likes to play. He prefers fewer transitions in the midfield and faster attacks. If we, with the players we have, could do it like them, we would. We would like to create chances with one or two touches, but it’s impossible to maintain that rhythm every three days. We’d finish with all of the players injured,” said Guardiola.

The solution to the absences

Beyond the duel between Guardiola and Clemente, FC Barcelona must win without the suspended Messi and Busquets, the injured Abidal or, perhaps, Thiago. “Thiago is better than he was yesterday, but we’ll decide before the match,” said the manager. On the absence of the Argentine, Guardiola had few words: “in the last 15 or 20 meters he’s the world’s most decisive player. It’s good that we get to play without him once in a while.”

Leadership and the Cup

When asked about the possibility of winning the league, Guardiola was clear: “We’re far away from the leaders and the leaders haven’t faltered in a long time. Fighting back from 10 points down is very difficult.” He added: “If we aren’t first, it’s not the fault of the referees.”

He was also asked about the Cup final venue. “Athletic Club wants to play on the 20th. We would also like to play on the 20th, but we can still make it to the Champions League final. The Federation will decide,” said the manager.

Good relationship with the Board of Directors

When asked about his relationship with the board, Guardiola took the opportunity to clearly state that his relationship with Junta is very good: “They have been fantastic. I don’t have any complaints. This board and the last one have treated me magnificently.” The Barça manager also confirmed that he met with President Sandro Rosell this Thursday: “We've had lot of meetings. It was simply another one. We talked about a lot of things, obviously [what was said] stays between us. The feelings are always good when we see each other. They take care of me.”