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Guardiola, at the San Siro / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Josep Guardiola expressed his joy after securing the top spot in Group H. He said that it was a “true honour” to have beaten a such a prestigious team like Milan at the historic San Siro. The manager was also pleased that the people who had watched the game “had fun.” He continued, “We played a good away game, and now to come here and generate so many chances against such a big team, with such history and tradition... it gives us pride. It’s an honour to beat Milan at the San Siro.”

With tonight’s victory, Josep Guardiola is the FC Barcelona manager with the most wins in the Champions League, totalling 27. The Barça boss attributes his record to the European titles won by his players: “these stats are the consequence of having won two European titles . . . we have been lucky enough to win 12 of 15 titles. With different players I wouldn’t have been able to do it. If they had another manager, perhaps they would have done it anyway. I only try to get them to run.”

Club World Cup, priority

After being asked if the victory over Milan was a warning to onlooking teams, Guardiola said, “we don’t play to demonstrate our authority to other teams or to correct people's opinions about us. It’s about playing the game and trying to be better than your opponent . . . the most important thing is that the team is in the round of 16 and that we get to play the return leg at home. Now we have to prepare for the Club World Cup in Japan, this is our priority until the end of the year.”

Barça came out onto the San Siro pitch with a three-man defence, which at first glance might seem risky, but in the end it worked out. “Because of our opponent I decided to play with three [defenders], fast players, players with legs,” the manager said. After watching his footballers’ performance, Guardiola highlighted that they “competed to win” and that he saw details that make him “optimisitc about the future . . . once again, I can say that we will compete until the end and try and win something.”

Praise for Thiago and Busquets

Guardiola had words of praise for Thiago, who played in a position that he’s not used to, and for Busquets' brilliant tactical performance. “When we play with three defenders 'Busi’s' position isn’t easy at all. It was a risk, but I weighed my options, and playing this way gives us more more options to play. Thiago, he’s the boldest player we have in the squad. He's confident in himself, he’s strong, he thinks he's good looking, he's good... it doesn’t matter if he plays on a small or large field. He can adapt and that can only be done if you have good self esteem.”

“Tito, content and happy”

Guardiola talked about Tito Vilanova, who underwent surgery this Tuesday: “I know he listened to the game over the radio. I know that he’s well, that he’s content and happy.”


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