Guardiola during the game against BATE Borisov / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

It’s no coincidence that nine Barça B players played in tonight’s match against BATE Borisov. Pep Guardiola knows that he was able to give these lads a chance, and they responded magnificently, thanks in large part to work put in by many people over the years. Martí Riverola is the embodiment of the eagerness that all the youngsters have to play for the first team. The manager explained that when Riverola was about to come on and make his debut for the first team he was asked by assistant coach, Aureli Altimira if he was ready, the youngster responded with “I’ve been preparing for this moment my whole life.” Guardiola made special mention of Riverola’s trajectory within the Club: he started in the Barça School and has worked his way up through every reserve side in the Club.

“Quality players”

The FC Barcelona manager said that “it’s not easy to put seven lads from the reserve side on the pitch and give the impression of playing well. You don’t do that every day. It’s beautiful that we all had a part to play in this, it makes us proud.” Guardiola added, “they are quality players and I hope they can help the team in the future.” This quality was more than evident on the pitch tonight against BATE, and Guardiola didn’t hesitate to qualify the match the youngsters played as “impeccable in every regard.”

Praise for the first team and the supporters

Even though the main attraction of the match against BATE were the players from the Barça B side, Guardiola made special mention of the five first team players that also played tonight: “I want to thank Pinto, Maxwell, Fontàs, Pedro and Thiago for the seriousness in which they approached the game . . . to have players like this gives the Club dignity.” He also thanked the 37,274 spectators that made their way to the stadium tonight, “I’m happy that they had a good time.”

It’s time for the Clásico

Guardiola did not want to speak too much about the Clásico at the Bernabéu. However, he did say that the team is working “to find the way to suffer the least amount possible and to attack in the best way possible” when they head to Madrid this Saturday.

Bartomeu: “The youngsters are coming up strong ”

FC Barcelona’s Sport Vice President Josep Maria Bartomeu praised the team’s performance against BATE Borisov and was proud of the youngsters that featured in tonight’s match. “We’re all happy with what we have at home. The youngsters are coming up strong. They did a magnificent job.” With the multitude of future options the first team has to reinforce the squad, Bartomeu said, “first we look here at home and if we can’t find what we’re looking for we’ll look elsewhere.”

After the conclusion of the game against BATE it’s time to start thinking about the next match, and the next one is against Madrid. “There are more games in the Liga, but this one is important. But whoever wins the game isn’t crowned Liga champions.” He also added that he sees the team “motivated” to go to the Bernabéu, but that their opponent is “very strong and they are a quality team. It’s not a coincidence that they are in first place.”

Finally he talked about Xavi and Messi being finalists for the Ballon d’Or 2011 and Guardiola, nominated for best manager of the year: “it’s an honour that they are in the top tier of football.”

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