Guardiola, at the Camp Nou press conference / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Josep Guardiola is treating the trip to Getafe very seriously indeed, with some crunch games to come in an action packed December, which includes big journeys to Madrid and Japan. "Between now and Christmas we have a fascinating month ahead of us, and everything clearly begins tomorrow," he said.

Hard work to come

He insisted that "in this championship, you have to work really hard right until the end ... everything matters in this competition. All the teams have their virtues, and if we aren't at our best we can drop points. Christmas is coming and we have to try to keep up with Real Madrid." So, he believes the squad is going to have to "keep up the same form, intense football and number of chances created as last month. We have to get better day by day."

The Champions League match at San Siro behind him, Guardiola is wary of Getafe. "Their manager was at Levante where we found it very difficult. The team has bought well this season and the pieces are starting to fit into place. We must remember that they have drawn a lot of games in the final minutes." Also, while Getafe have had all week to get ready, his own side is travelling "after playing a very intense game, a very tiring one at the San Siro, and we have to travel again just three days later."

Big things ahead

Guardiola also spoke about the seriousness of the Clubs World Cup in Japan. "You have to win the Champions League to get there, and so this is a very big thing," he said. Asked whether he thinks some players are being affected by their lack of playing opportunities, he commented that "they all have to make sure they don't let it get them down. All of them deserve to play, of course, and I'll make my decisions depending on what I see. They all have to help each other."

This Thursday, Jonathan Dos Santos extended his contract until 2015: "We hold him in very high esteem, and I know him well. He's very versatile and Barça shouldn't let him get away. He's too good, he's got too much class, and he shouldn't leave FC Barcelona so young. There are not many people that can create such pressure and pass the ball around as well as he does. I hear that he accepted the conditions in a minute, and that says a lot for him. It means he values this institution, that he's happy here." He also said that when the technical secretary decides to keep a player on, "it's because he thinks there is room for him in the first team."

Missing Tito

Josep Guardiola also spoke about Tito Vilanova, who underwent surgery on Tuesday. He said he is missing his assistant both personally and professionally. "Tito is not here right now, but he'll be back soon. We are missing him in every way. He is an intimate friend of mine, I'm missing him, and when it comes to managing the team he does everything I ask of him. He's slowly getting better, but should relax and take his time. He'll be back whenever he can."

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