FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola was very happy with his team’s classification for the quarter finals of the Copa del Rey. Barca drew 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao in the return leg of the competition but advanced due to the double value of the away goal. The coach also had kind things to say about their rival and their fans.
“It’s been an honor to see San Mames at its maximum potential. Athletic’s fans have to be proud of their team and vice versa. We knew that the result of the first leg wasn’t going to matter. In stadiums like these, it seems like the game will never end.”
As expected, Guardiola congratulated the player of the match, Eric Abidal. Abidal’s goal was his first with the club and it was enough to see Barcelona through. “Abidal was spectacular. Txiki made a great decision when he signed him. He plays on the left as well as in the middle. He has been playing great recently and is also a great person.”
“We all applauded Abidal after the game because he deserved it. We would have thrown him in the air but the ceiling was too low.”
Abidal wasn’t the only player that Pep mentioned. “We always trust the entire team but I want to dedicate a few words to Pinto, Abidal and Keita, as well as Adriano, who never get the minutes they deserve, but played a great game that has allowed us to continue in this competition.”
“I know that if we had been eliminated it would have been on the front pages but what is worthy of the front page is that we came here and triumphed. That is why I’m so happy.”
When asked if they had an easy path to the final, Pep used his usual caution and humility. “It would be a lack of respect towards Betis or Getafe to say that we have an easy path to the final. It won’t be easy and we’ll have to work hard.”