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

Josep Guardiola places high value on his team’s 5-0 win over Levante at the Camp Nou this Saturday. “We’ve scored five goals against the fourth placed team in the League, but it’s true that after everything we’ve accomplished nothing we do seems like much,” the Barça manager said. The Santpedor native boldly said that his team must “persevere” throughout the rest of the season and that Barça fans shouldn’t abandon their team. “These players don’t deserve that, they’ve given a lot to this Club,” he said.

With the match at the Barnabéu looming, Guardiola urged his squad to keep on fighting and not give up: “there’s a lot left, regardless of what happens in the near future. This thing is long and we have to preserver. I will not alow the team to give up.”

Conclusions after each match

Next Saturday’s match at Real Madrid’s stadium was the focus of the post-match press conference after the game against Levante. When asked if tonight’s game helped Guardiola to come to any conclusions about the clásico, the Barça manager said, “there isn’t a game where I do not come to any conclusions, it’s impossible not to. The fact that we did well tonight doesn’t mean we’ll do well tomorrow, because Madrid plays differently.”

When asked if he will use three defenders against Mourinho’s side, the Barça boss was very clear: “playing with three defenders is good if you’re dominating, but if you aren’t it’s very difficult, not only against Madird but against any other club in the world.” He added, “the challenge is to have the other team submit and to have more comfortable possession of the ball so we can attack. But against Madrid, getting them to submit for long spells of time is practically impossible.”

Finally, the Barça manager explained that Pedro “has a little discomfort with his heel . . . Pedro is too good of a player to doubt.” He added, “I’m the manager I am today thanks to players like Pedro.” Guardiola also talked about Cuenca’s performance: “he makes everyone else better. He’s very intelligent and he knows his function within the team perfectly.”

Tito Vilanova’s progress

Guardiola also talked about his assistant coach, Tito Vilanova: “In the end, he’s the most significant absentee we have. He will not be coming to Japan, he’ll stay here to recuperate. However, he’ll try to come to the Bernabéu if he gets a chance. The most positive thing is that he’s getting better each day.”

Bartomeu highlights Levante's courage

Barça’s first vice president commended Levante’s courage in Saturday’s game at the Camp Nou: “I want to congratulate Levante because they are having a magnificent season. They didn’t come to the Camp Nou to play defence, they were courageous. They weren't an easy opponent.” Josep Maria Bartomeu also noted the effort put forth by Barça’s players to take the three points, “they always come out and put a lot of effort into it . . . We saw great team play and different players scored.”

When asked about the expectations for the next League game, at the Bernabéu, the first vice president was clear, “it’s a very important game,” but this competition rewards consistency and it will “go on, no matter what. No team will leave there [Bernabéu] League champions.” Lastly, Bartomeu proudly referenced tonight’s tribute at the Camp Nou to ex-President Josep Suñol and said that the final stretch of December was highly “motivating.”

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