Josep Guardiola spoke at a press conference before the last La Liga game this season. As usual, he praised the rival team, in this instance Real Betis. “They are a demanding team, and they can do damage to you if you aren’t at your best,” he said, underlining that “it will serve as a good preparation for two week’s time. We have another final.”
The Barça side will then have a whole fortnight to get ready for the King’s Cup final against Athletic Club on May 25 at the Vicente Calderón stadium. Guardiola has denied recent rumours that the team will be playing any friendly matches in the meantime, assuring that “the most important challenge for us right now is to be in our very finest condition for the final.”
Pep did not want to discuss Barça’s future and explained that he does not feel the right person to do so. Asked about Tito Vilanova, his successor, Guardiola undelined that Tito “is staying because he feels strong. It is a sign of how brave and courageous he is.” He also answered a question about the apparent distance between himself and his assistant. “At this point in time I don’t have to justify anything about my relationship with Tito, please let my relationship with him be the one we want, and not the one you want it to be.”
Pinto suffered from a sprained ankle and Guardiola confirmed that his starting goalkeeper at Saturday’s game against Betis will be Víctor Valdés. He also underlined that Pinto is now first choice for the Cup final, “if there are no after-effects, then he’ll be fit to play in the cup final,” he said.
On David Villa, the blaugrana manager said that “the player is developing well. But the doctors are in a better position than I am to talk about his chances of being able to play.” He also believes that Alexis Sanchez “will be fit to play in the final”. Guardiola also added that he has no doubt that Carles Puyol will be back soon, saying, “he recovered magnificently from his last injury and he’s done some amazing things for us this season. If Carles is fit, he’ll want to play.”
Source: fcbarcelona.cat; Picture credit: Jordi Cotrina