Pinto, en un entrenament / FOTO: ARXIU FCB

In an interview with Barça TV José Manuel Pinto said that he’s preparing for the King’s Cup Final against Athletic Club. He confirmed that he’s in perfect physical condition for the match while noting that the team have overcome “obstacles” in the past in reference to the announced absences of both Puyol and Alves.

He recognised that it will be a special match seeing that it’s Pep Guardiola’s last match on the Barça bench, but he also said that he’d like to dedicate a hypothetical victory to Abidal and his family. Pinto went on to say that he has complete confidence in the Barça youth system and he praised Marcelo Bielsa’s sensational side.

- How’s your ankle?

“I feel great. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be in optimal condition.”

-We’ve had the recent bad news of both Puyol and Alves’ injuries. But this team have always been able to overcome these types of difficulties. Why is that?
“I believe that these small inconveniences always happen throughout the season and it’s a shame that we won’t be able to play with some of our team-mates due to last-minute injuries. But we must keep on moving and we, whenever there has been an obstacle, have been able to move forward.”

-Martín Montoya might get the nod to start against Athletic Club. Is he ready to play in a final?

“Every player that comes up through the youth system is highly qualified. They prove it when they come out [onto the pitch] and they don’t notice the change [when they move up to the first team] because they’re very well prepared. We have confidence in them.”

-Ahead of preparing for the match, does it make a big difference on the game if Puyol, Mascherano or Piqué are playing in the middle?

“We prepare for each match in the same way. The only thing that changes are the individual characteristics of the players. But I have confidence in whoever plays, the only thing that changes are the small details.”

-It’s an important final seeing that it will be Pep Guardiola’s last match on the bench. Does this fact add pressure to the team? Does it motivate you?

“It’s hard to define, we don’t like that he’s leaving. The last match [with Guardiola] will be sad, we have to win to turn that sadness into joy so we can give him a proper send off. I hope it works out this way, we’re motivated. We’re all awaiting that moment.”

-How important has Guardiola been in your career? What have you learned?

“With him I’ve principally learned how to use my feet and how to read the game. I’ll always be thankful for the confidence he’s given me. He has complete confidence in me and I’ve done my best to return the gesture. I’ve done it with my attitude in our training sessions and especially when I play.”

-Another final against Athletic Club. Is this team like the one in the 2009 Final?

“Every team modifies itself every year. It’s obvious that Athletic have improved a lot. They are a very competitive side. They play well and their manager is responsible for this positive change. It will be a very difficult and beautiful final.”

-Guardiola says that Athletic Club are the sensation the year. Do you agree?

“I’ve followed them and I believe that they are one of the standout teams of the year. Atlético Madrid have also had a great season.”

-Do you believe you’ve permanently won over the Culés? Do you believe your public image has hurt you in anyway?

“I’ve never thought about it. I believe that I’ve won the Culés over because when I’m out and about they show me their appreciation. The only thing I’ve done is give everything I have and try to bring something to the group. When someone comports himself with honesty the people see that and give it value.”

-Have you thought the match over in your head? Have you dreamed of the perfect match?

“I’ve had a flash or two, but I’ve quickly forgotten about it. We want this to end well. I hope that I can dedicate the trophy to my grandparents, who recently passed away. I’d also like to dedicate the trophy to Abidal and my family.”

Superstition and music

-Are you superstitious?
“When I was younger I was. The older you get you more you leave these things behind. If not, I wouldn’t wear the number 13. I love this number.”

-Do you listen to music before games?
“I prefer to read before matches, because it relaxes me. I just finished reading ‘El maestro de las cometas.’

-Do you listen to your own music or do you try to disconnect by listening to other types of music?
“I listen to all types of music. We play various songs in the dressing room in order to motivate the team.”

-At the Camp Nou, when you go out to warm up, your music always plays...
“I passed along my CD at the start of the season so they could play it during our warmup session before the match and things went well for us that day. People thought ‘let’s keep on using this music, things worked out well,’ also because they liked it, obviously. The reason we listen to my music during the warmup is because of superstition, though.”

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