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Sunday, 15 December 2019

My players are role models not cheats, says Guardiola

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola hit back at accusations of cheating from Real Madrid ahead of the Champions League semi-final second leg match at the Nou Camp by describing his players as exemplary.

AFP, Monday 2 May 2011
Barcelona coach Pepe Guardiola
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In the press conference ahead of the game, Real assistant coach Aitor Karanka claimed that UEFA's decision not to sanction Barcelona over their action in the first leg - which Barca won 2-0 - will overshadow the game.

With so much at stake on top of the fierce rivalry, the tension led to a poor match at the Bernabeu which will be remembered by the unsporting behaviour of both sides.

However, Real are angry at the way that only their club has been punished with Pepe and Sergio Ramos suspended and Jose Mourinho banned from the touchline.

They sent an official complaint to UEFA asking for action against six Barca players and coach Pep Guardiola for instigating their foul play. The petition though was thrown out.

"Madrid cannot decide who plays or doesn't, that is down to UEFA. My players go out to play football, I know them very well and they are professionals," said Guardiola.

"They love sport and I have no doubt that some can make errors but they are an example for Barca and for the national team.

"Here young players are taught the right values and in the game on Tuesday 14 of these youth products will be in the squad to play. They can think that we are wrong but we think differently."

A brace from Lionel Messi gave them the win in the first leg but at the weekend they lost 2-1 away at struggling Real Sociedad.

Although they remain eight points clear at the top of the table with Real also losing, Guardiola feels it is a warning that they cannot afford to make mistakes.

"After what happened I know that we have to be worried about Madrid. We will attack but we need to be careful as Madrid have fantastic players," said Guardiola.

"It is amazing to be where we are in the league and the Champions League. Madrid may not be happy with the sanctions and there is a judiciary where they can appeal. That is not our job we don't give suspensions we only enjoy playing football.

"We are prepared for everything and we know that there are going to be difficult moments in the game."

Midfielder Xavi Hernandez labeled as ridiculous Mourinho's claim that the team should be punished for a lack of fair play.

"It is not my job to criticise Mourinho. We try and talk about football and I have the feeling that he doesn't do it very often.

"I find it sad that he talks about things which have nothing to do with this sport. Mourinho is a controversial coach and uses his tactics to get ahead.

"The complaints to UEFA are pathetic because Barcelona have behaved well in all their matches. UEFA have turned down the petition obviously."

Xavi believes his side deserve their lead.

"Football came out on top in the end. Madrid have another type of football," he said.

"I think we like to play in an attacking and attractive way, not enclosing ourselves in defence but creating goal scoring chances.

"Hopefully we will now face a side which will try and play football and we will try and beat them doing this.

"They will probably come forward more because in the past they have attempted to play us on the counter-attack."

Xavi has his sights set on the final at Wembley where Barcelona won their first European Cup in 1992 against Sampdoria.

"I watched that game on the television at home because my parents wouldn't let me go. I would have liked to have been there and see our first victory but to go there again after beating our eternal rival would be something special," he added.

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