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

After putting on a masterclass display against Valencia, Josep Guardiola praised his players. For the manager, it’s a “privilege” to be able to watch Barça play football. “We’re so lucky to be living in a time when these players play. This team dignifies the sport,” said Guardiola when asked about his take on his team’s performance.

“We’re far away”

Focusing on Barça’s level of play, “when one sees how we’ve competed throughout the year, they think we don’t deserve it,” said the manager in reference to the 10 point gap with Real Madrid. “It’s a shame we’re so far away. I sincerely believe that our play isn’t representative of being 10 points down, but we are, and we have to live with it. The distance is what it is, let’s see if we can fulfill our job,” said the manager.

On the team’s current situation in the league, the Barça manager urged his players to keep on fighting: “We must compete well, if we don’t this [season] will be very long for us. We have to try to make sure that these three remaining months in the league aren’t drawn out and we must try and compete the best we can ... we have to go to the Calderón and play a good game, let’s see if we can get any closer to [Madrid]. We’ll start preparing for the game on Wednesday, it’ll be a good test to see if we want the title.”

“We won’t play where we aren’t wanted”

When asked about the possibility of playing the King’s Cup final in Mestalla and not the Santiago Bernabeu, Guardiola said, “I’d like to go where we are welcome and I’d rather not go to a place where they don’t want us to dignify a competition like the King’s Cup. In the end there aren’t any problems, we’re thankful to Valencia for receiving us. We never want to make anyone uncomfortable. If they don’t want us, we won’t go. It’s clear that we won’t play in a place where we aren’t welcome.”

Guardiola was also asked about what his team would look like without Xavi: “without Xavi this would be different. Not only because of what that implies on the pitch, but off the pitch as well. He’s a lad that goes out to train 10 minutes before training is scheduled, he guides the players that come in, he likes to work ... he’s a one-of-a-kind player, not repeatable. His parents are a bit delayed in making a copy [of Xavi]. This year we have midfielders that are doing a great job.”

Lastly, Guardiola confessed that he told Cesc Fabregas “you have to score a goal,” when he was substituted. “We had way too many clear chances, it’s not possible. We’re helping the opposing keepers of the Liga make a good case for contract extensions with their teams,” he said jokingly. The manager also said that he’s convinced that Messi will break César’s all-time goalscoring record. The Argentine only needs 12 more goals.

Zubizarreta: “We don't mind waiting for Pep to renew his contract”

During the halftime break, the Barça football director said the Club’s position concerning Josep Guardiola’s contract extension is very clear: “Pep knows that he has the complete confidence of the Club, the same when he first started training here. We aren’t giving him any deadlines, he has all of our confidence. If he needs time, he’ll have it. Each year he has signed a new contract and he’s always needed time to feel good about it. His way of working isn’t a problem for us. The Club is at peace [with the process].”

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