Common sense counts, says football coach Guardiola

AFP, Tuesday 13 Dec 2011

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola says a "common sense" approach is a major factor behind his phenomenal success at the European champions, downplaying the role of tactics

Pep Guardiola

The Spanish side romped to a 3-1 win away at Real Madrid at the weekend to leapfrog back to the top of La Liga, preventing their great rivals from establishing a potentially decisive lead at the top of the table.

Switching their focus temporarily away from domestic challenges, Barcelona face Asian champions Al Sadd in the semi-finals of the Club World Cup on Thursday and are hot favourites to progress.

Guardiola, who took the helm at the Catalan giants in 2008, said there was no great secret behind his sustained spell of success.

"There’s nothing special about it really. First of all, I’ve tried to be faithful to the history of Barcelona, which is a great club in every respect," he said.

"And then it’s just been a question of making good signings and blending them in with the homegrown players, handling them in the right way and not being scared to give the youngsters a chance when the time’s right."

And he added in an interview with "We’re just trying to use our common sense. You wanted to know why we keep getting good results? That’s the answer: common sense."

He used the example of letting players spend the night before a game with their families instead of staying in a hotel as an example of this approach.

"I judge my players on the work they do, not on their private lives. I’m not a policeman. I’m in bed at 10:00pm and I’ve got no urge to go and check up on my players," he said.

"That’s why I’d rather have them at home and not cooped up in a hotel with nothing to do. We’re just trying to use our common sense."

Guardiola said he would be giving his players time off to explore Tokyo and sample the local food, and said a more relaxed approach at times was crucial.

Referring to his team's highly impressive 3-1 Champions League final win over Manchester United at Wembley in May, he said: "Our preparation for that game was crucial.

"We went to London a good few days before, made ourselves feel at home there and went into the match in really good shape. Things like that tend to get overlooked but they make the difference in big games," he added.

Guardiola, a former midfielder for the team he now coaches, said too much was made of tactics.

"People talk about tactics but when you look at it tactics are just players," he said.

"You change things so that the team can get the most out of the skills they have to offer, but you don’t go any further than that."

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