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PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Speaking at a press conference this lunchtime, Javier Mascherano gave his view of the Club’s new coach: “Tito is the continuation of this project. It is the least traumatic change possible and the best thing that could have happened to Barça. With his style and his changes, the style of our football is not going to change and that is the most important thing for the Club”.

Great future for the squad

Although he would have liked to see Guardioal stay on at the Club, Mascherano believes the boss: “has left a team which still has a great future, with experienced players who can guide the youngsters. He’s the most influential coach I’ve had because of his way of seeing the game, for his leadership, for how he faces every match and for the way he lives this job. He’s a coach who lives the game 24 hours a day”.

Guardiola and Bielsa: “they won’t betray their way of thinking”

Asked to compare Guardiola and ex-Argentina and current Bilbao coach Bielsa, Mascherano claimed: “I think that they are very similar in that they always look to win a game and try and play well - they think first about their opponents’ area before their own. Also, neither of them will betray their way of thinking, regardless of any risk the team may be facing they never change their philosophy and they won’t betray their way of thinking about the game. Guardiola is maybe a little closer to the players – Bielsa is more like a schoolmaster. I had him as coach 8 years ago and he’s a coach who is always trying to change, so maybe he is different now”.

Winning is expected

Mascherano also stated that “a win in the Final would be the best possible send off” for Guardiola, “though at a Club like this, winning is something we always are expected to do. It’s a bit strange having so long to prepare for the game – we are more used to playing every three days and when you have a 10 or 12 day break, you notice it. However at this stage of the season, it’s good to have a slight rest from playing and train hard to be ready in the best possible way”.

Praise for Messi and Alves

Mascherano also had praise for his fellow countryman Leo Messi and after his 72 goals: “he deserves the Ballon d’Or” -he just gets better with every season”, Dani Alves also received the thumbs up, with the Argentinean claiming: “he’s the best right back in the world, not only for his goals and assists, but also for the way he gees up the rest of the team”.

Happy with his own situation

Javier Mascherano is “very happy” with his personal position at the Club and he has no intention of leaving: “I don’t think I deserve a new contract either. If I have the chance to continue or get a new deal in the future, that will be great”. However, when he was asked about becoming captain he replied: “I think the captains we have are the ones we should have. They represent us very well, to the board, the technical staff and to the outside world in general”.

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