Guardiola, during the match against Valencia / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

This was the fifth time that Pep Guardiola played in Mestalla against Valencia since he took charge of the Barça bench in the summer of 2008 - 4 in the Liga and 1 in the King’s Cup. The manager declared that tonight’s match “was the best game we’ve played here.” He went on to say that this was the game that Valencia, who always make it difficult for Barça, “that they created the least amount of chances” since he took charge of the Barça helm. Guardiola also said that “beyond the stats we once again played very well on a very dry pitch and that’s always hard. But they are coming and we'll wet the pitch down (at the Camp Nou).”

A good result for the return leg

“It’s better to go to the Camp Nou with the obligation to win. If you go with a 1-2 or 1-3 you sometimes get the impression that the tie is over,” said Guardiola when asked about how his team will deal with the retun leg at the Camp Nou (next Wednesday at 21.00). The manager is cautious about next week’s match and he called on the Camp Nou faithful to cheer his side on, saying that “we have to win the return leg.”

The play with Pinto

On the controversial play involving Pinto, where Valencia appealed for a hand ball, the Barça manager explained that “they told me that it was a handball outside of the area.” He recognized that “Pinto’s expulsion would have conditioned the match.”

Guardiola also talked about Xavi, who was on the bench tonight, “Xavi needed to rest, rest and rest.”

Training on Thursday

The team will hold a closed-door training session this Thursday at 12.00 at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. Thiago Alcantara will talk to the press afterward.

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