Josep Guardiola during the game / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Josep Guardiola qualified tonight’s match at the Camp Nou as “a bit strange and different,” highlighting Rayo Vallecano’s courageous approach to the game. The Santpedor native said that José Ramón Sandoval’s side “isn’t a surprise. You can tell they have a great manager, and that they are doing things well. I have to congratulate Rayo’s courage.”

Along the same lines, when the Barça manager was asked if Rayo would have any problems staying in Spain’s top flight, he was very clear: “You can count on it. It’s impossible that a team with this ambition would not stay in Primera. Rayo has very good players, they’re courageous and they want to play. I’ve always said that there is no such thing as a good or bad manager, there are managers with courage and managers without courage.”

Congratulating Alexis

Alexis Sánchez, who scored a brace for Barça, was one of the stars of the night, not only for his offensive work but for his diligent defence. Guardiola said, “we knew that was one of his talents, and that he wasn’t only an attacking player. The lad was doing well before he picked up his injury, it’s clear that he lacks the continuity. Today people saw what he’s capable of, and I want to congratulate him on his good game.”

On the play that Gerard Piqué received a yellow card, the Barça manager said, “the images are what they are, the whole world saw it.” At the same time, Guardiola said that Valdés was also booked for a similar infraction and he wasn’t on suspension notice. Guardiola said that “in four years I’ve never given my opinion on referees. The referee made his statements in the post-game report.”

Finally, Guardiola talked about David Villa’s importance to the team’s play: “He’s a player that constantly looks for space, a player that his teammates should find. You already know what he means to us. He doesn’t stop moving to make space. Doing this, sometimes the ball gets to him sometimes it doesn’t. But he never gets tired of doing it. He knows his value to the team.”

Bartomeu: “The team works very hard”

The vice-president said that against Rayo Vallecano “the team showed once again that they play as well as they possibly can, they work very hard and they are very committed with the athletic project.” Josep Maria Bartomeu was visibly satisfied because “people that saw the game had a good time.” The vice-president praised Rayo Vallecano saying, “of the teams that have played here, they have been one of the best.” With this victory, Josep Guardiola’s team provisionally trails Real Madrid by three points. With this in mind, Bartomeu said, “the Liga is very long, there are a lot of minutes still yet to be played. It’s better to think about the next match, and then the next.”