Guardiola during the press conference / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Josep Guardiola didn't want to talk about the quarter-finals of the Cup until Thursday's match away to Osasuna is out of the way. The manager remembers the problems suffered by the team last season in the same round of the competition against Betis, despite the 5-0 win in the first leg, and opted for a more cautious approach. "Last season Betis did what they did. The Cup is very special. There are 90 minutes left and Osasuna have their virtues, which we already know about. It's our duty to think that we still have work to do," he said.

In this sense, he's very aware that this year no team has managed to win at Osasuna. "All grounds are complicated, and this one especially, for its size and the way they play. We know it will be cold, and we'll see how the pitch is. We'll try and play well to reach the quarters," he said.

With the same game philosophy

When asked if the advantage of four goals achieved in the first leg would somehow affect their approach to the game, Guardiola replied that Barça will head to Osasuna to win: "4-0 is a good lead, but we can't rely on that. We'll try to win the game. I don't know any other way. We'll try and play well and control the pitch, and the result. We'll go out to play the best we can, which is the only way I know."

It's a fact that the team is having trouble winning away from the Camp Nou: "Away from home we don't have the stats to be champions, and we must be more ambitious. The solvency that we have at home is harder to achieve away. We're ready to fight for the remaining 63 points. In all the games we've played well, and apart from the first hour in Valencia, and for some time in Cornella, we were better than our opponents. The level needed to become League Champions is very high."

Guardiola explained his technical decision not to call up Andrés Iniesta for the match: "He was out for ten days after Hospitalet, due to the injury he suffered. Against Espanyol he ended the game with an ankle knock. I haven't called him up to protect him for the effort to come."

The absence of Keita

On the other hand, Guardiola announced that, in principle, he won't call on any of the reserves to fill the place left by Keita, who will be playing in the Africa Cup of Nations: "We'll carry on bringing in players from the reserves depending on how they are. This doesn't mean that, later on, we won't bring someone into the first team. Cuenca is a good example: he came in, we were persuaded, and he stayed."

The possible departure of Maxwell

"He came to see us and said he had an offer from PSG, and he'd like to accept it. If a player wants to leave, and if he reaches an agreement with the Club, I won't try to stop that. I understand the situation. He's been given a free hand to do whatever he wants. It's very advanced, but not closed yet. He's a great example as a colleague, and a player when he's played. I wish him all the luck and thank him for all he has done," he said.

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