Guardiola Praises Barcelona And Real Madrid's Clasico Performances

Having won his first Clasico as a manager, Pep Guardiola was full of praise... for both teams.

Josep Guardiola conquered yet another milestone on Saturday evening, overseeing and winning his first Clásico as a coach. After the match, he was keen to stress that the title is far from won.

Speaking to reporters in the aftermath of the encounter, Guardiola was asked if it had been an easy game, due to Barca's dominance of possession.

"No, no, no. Real Madrid is Real Madrid and they have players of a very high level. They are not on-form, but I have a lot of respect for them. Our victory deserves a lot of merit. In the second half we played very well and managed to negate their counter-attacks.

"I am very satisfied with our performance because we did not lose the ball," Guardiola continued. "We have won three more points, we know how significant the game against Real Madrid is, but at the end of the day they are just three more points."

While Barcelona dominated the first half, they were also nearly caught on the counter by Madrid on a few occasions. Speaking of the change between the periods, Guardiola stated, "We wanted to run faster than the ball, but the ball is faster than the legs.

"We were over-excited in the first half. We were seeking a more intense rhythm. But we lost possession and this makes things difficult. In the second half we corrected things, but I want to congratulate Real Madrid on their defensive work."

Guardiola then said that he would not have been happy simply to have avoided defeat, because it "feels good immediately but disappointing in the long run."

Analysing his feelings during the match, he said, "I sensed that we would not lose the game. Sometimes as a player I went to the Bernabeu with the same feeling, but we either drew or lost. It was like an away game against a team that loves to counter-attack. They are dangerous playing in that style, and when they are so organized at the back it is difficult. "

Guardiola then repeated his belief of the league being far from over.

"I will try to put everyone's feet on the ground. We are nine points ahead of Villareal, but it could be six by tomorrow. We have only played 15 games. All the remaining games are very important, including the ones against the likes of Osasuna and Racing. The 12 point difference between Real Madrid and ourselves is a sign that we are playing relatively well.

"I must repeat that this has only been possible thanks to the previous games," Guardiola continued. "The merit is to go to places like Huelva and Bilbao and win. I don't deny that I am pleased to score nine goals in three games. The gap is good but we do not play only against Real Madrid. There is a long way to go, at difficult grounds and in three competitions."

There was a moment in the first half when Guardiola was incensed at the amount of fouls Lionel Messi was being subjected to. He spoke of his actions, explaining: "I know that there was no evil intention, but those fouls were dangerous and could have caused a lot of damage. I was afraid that the game would escalate into many such fouls. I did not mean to offend the referee."

Finally, Guardiola spoke about the performances of a couple of his players. He singled out Victor Valdes for praise.

"I am very pleased with him because he made two very important saves. It is always difficult for a goalkeeper against a team that defends with 11 players. "

The Barca coach was also impressed by Sergio Busquet's short stint: "He is player who never plays poorly. He has a lot of character, understands the game, and he won the penalty. I wanted to play Gudjohnsen, because his form warranted it. I feel bad for Keita, but I cannot play everyone. I am happy with Busquet's form."

Barca's next game is a tough trip to Villarreal, in a match that could be a showdown between the top two teams, should the Yellow Submarine win at Sevilla tomorrow.

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Guardiola Praises Barcelona And Real Madrid's Clasico Performances Reviewed by admin Ucop on 1:55 AM Rating: 5

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