In the UEFA Champions League pre-match press conference held in London this evening, FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola spelled out a little of how he’ll prepare his team for tomorrow’s match: “They will play to their strengths, so will we. To score away from home is vital if we want to qualify to the next round. We want to push forward in an orderly manner, and to defend the ball aggressively and with determination.”
“Both sides will want to keep the ball, which is the key. Though scoring a goal is crucial, it is more important that the team plays as a unit as you will not be able to win if you don’t defend well.”
Reminding the press that the Catalan side will not take Arsenal lightly even though their talisman Cesc Fabregas could be side-lined, Pep said, “Cesc is a very good player but this team had already shown it can win even without him. It won 5-0 against Porto without Cesc.”
Queried if Thierry Henry – voted ‘Arsenal’s Greatest Player’ by fans at Arsenal.com – would be in his starting line-up, the answer was: “I know all my players will give their best tomorrow. Henry has a lot of experience and is used to playing in big matches. But Henry is also a part of the history of this club, and it is an honour (for us) that he could come back here (willing) to face his former club.”
Talking about his rival Arsene Wenger, Pep Guardiola only has good words for the Frenchman: “For years now he has led by example that you can win by playing good football, intent on putting on a good show for the rest of Europe. It is a team that is bold (i.e. not defensive-minded) and entertaining to watch.
“Wenger is one of the best coaches in the world and he managed to change the footballing culture of this club. Arsenal is admired the world over, and it will be an honour to play against them.”