Guardiola during the match at the Bernabéu / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Josep Guardiola showed himself to be very satisfied with his team’s performance after Wednesday’s win in the quarter-final away-leg match of the King’s Cup (1-2). However, the manager was quick to point out the quality of Mourinho’s side and added that he isn’t taking anything for granted in next week’s rematch at the Camp Nou: “we still have 90 minutes left, we’re playing against Madrid, I’m taking nothing for granted. They have the quality to win, we must be prepared. I insist that Madrid is capable of anything and we still have the return leg.”

“We generated good play and goal-scoring chances”

The manager, while stating that playing at the Santiago Bernabéu “is always demanding,” highlighted Barça’s game: “we’ve played a good game here once again. The most important thing is that we’ve played half of the tie and we managed to get a positive result. We controlled the game and we recovered well from Cristiano’s initial goal. I believe we played a good game, we shouldn’t forget that we just played against Real Madrid. We generated good play and goal-scoring chances.”

Guardiola admitted that he was a bit surprised that this was the seventh consecutive game in which Barça hadn’t lost at the Bernabéu: “you always think that sooner or later this will all end. It’s not normal because this stadium is very imposing. The players know the importance of playing in a stadium like this and they behave themselves well. I hope that the people at home enjoyed the match. It’s true that we’re on a good trajectory, and we’re going home with the feeling that we acted like the team we truly are. Looking ahead to the return leg we have to study what we did right and what we did wrong. We have the second half of the tie still yet to play and we must be at a good level to reach the semi-finals.”

Long spells of possession

Lastly, after saying that Pinto “is a fantastic keeper” that gives him “a lot of confidence,” the manger revealed that before the match the team discussed the option of employing “long passes.” He added, “we wanted to have a game plan that would allow us to score goals. We talked about having long spells of possession. We didn’t want to have forced errors, because we knew that we’d find the last pass, and we found it.”

“Alexis has stolen my heart”

During the post-match press conference, Guardiola lauded Alexis: “I want to especially  congratulate Alexis, because he played a fantastic match. He’s stolen my heart. He’s young and he came here with a lot of hope after renouncing a lot of things. He’s a hard worker and he scores ... he’s very loved. He’s also a very humble person. I believe that Barça made an extraordinary signing. He still hasn’t shown us what he’s capable of, when he does he’ll be even better.”

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