Guardiola, aquest divendres a la sala de premsa de la Ciutat Esportiva / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Josep Guardiola is treating Saturday’s clash with Levante with the utmost importance. He knows that the next league fixture, against leaders Real Madrid, will be much more difficult than people seem to think and therefore “I’ll playing what I think is the strongest team and that can adapt best to the opponent and the ground”. Although he has a crucial Champions League semi final against Chelsea to worry about in addition to the clásico, he is not even contemplating the idea of resting any of his stars. “We know it’s difficult but we want to extend our league challenge and to do that we have to play the best team we can … if the difference was ten points we could make one competition a priority, but given the situation we are in, the game with Levante is more important”.

In La Liga, he believes it is essential for his team to stay within at least four points of the lead. “If we don’t win the game against Levante, we’ll have nothing to play for against Madrid” he said. “We would lose the little chance we have … There is only one way to extend competitions, and that’s by winning”.

Puyol going strong at 34

The manager also spoke about Carles Puyol, who turned 34 today. After congratulating his captain, Guardiola said “he’s the kind of player whose fitness will tell him when he has to stop. His desire has hardly changed at all since the day he started. If injuries are kind to him, his career can carry on for some time”.

He was also pleased to welcome Afellay back from a long-term injury. “It’s one more man for the cause. Now he’s got to work hard to get back in the team”.

And finally, words for Abidal, who is recovering from his liver transplant. “The information we have received says that everything has gone to plan, that there have been no nasty shocks. That’s the best news”.

Preseason in Europe

Guardiola also spoke about the decision to stay in Europe next summer. “For many years the team has been adapting to the Club’s needs because they look for ways of benefitting it as an institution” he said.

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