Guardiola says Barca feeling pressure of "clasico"

Updated: 10 December 2011 17:11 IST

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola believes his Spanish champions have more to lose than fierce rival Real Madrid during Saturday's highly anticipated "clasico" match in the capital.

Guardiola says Barca feeling pressure of "clasico"

Barcelona:

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola believes his Spanish champions have more to lose than fierce rival Real Madrid during Saturday's highly anticipated "clasico" match in the capital.


Barcelona trails league leader Madrid by three points despite having played an extra game and can ill afford to fall further behind approaching the season's midway point.

"We have more at stake, and whoever is behind in the standings always feels a little more pressure," Guardiola said Friday night.

Yet regardless of his team's position in the table, Guardiola still appeared confident that his side would stay true to its attacking style at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"We will go out to win," said Guardiola. "We have to be solid in defense, quick in our transitions and pay attention to many things against a team that is very intense and presses a lot."

Since Guardiola took charge, Barcelona has dominated Madrid with seven wins and three draws against only one loss across all competitions - collecting 12 trophies to Madrid's one.

Guardiola, however, placed very little value in his impressive record as he tries to remain undefeated in seven straight league meetings against Madrid.

"What happened before are just numbers, they don't help you win in the least," he said. "We are going to the leader's stadium with the idea of seeing who is better. Whichever team plays better on that given day will win."

A squad with more strength in depth has allowed Guardiola to constantly tinker with both his lineup and formation this season.

Madrid's defense could face a number of partners for the only sure starter in attack: Barcelona's leading scorer Lionel Messi, who has found the back of the net seven times in his last five visits to Madrid's home ground.

Cesc Fabregas' seven league goals makes him a leading candidate, but Spanish internationals David Villa and Pedro Rodriguez, Chile forward Alexis Sanchez, and even 20-year-old Isaac Cuenca could all crack the starting 11.

Guardiola was coy about his lineup and only said that various players all have "the same possibilities" to join Messi up front.

Madrid coach Jose Mourinho can either revert to last season's defensive tactics or send his team on the attack, like he has to great effect this season. Guardiola has meanwhile taken a page from mentor Johan Cruyff this campaign by sometimes using a three-man defense in a more attacking lineup and could do so once again come Saturday.

Guardiola, however, downplayed this tactical decision.

"It doesn't matter if we play with three of four in defense," the former Barcelona midfielder said. "The game will be decided in the details, on whether we can stop them from crossing into our territory, and that doesn't change according to the defensive scheme."

Guardiola said that he would ask his players what he always does: to be brave.

"We will go out as we always have, with the idea of being very ambitious," he said. "If not, it will be very tough. But I know my players."



Topics : Lionel Andres Messi Football Barcelona Real Madrid Francesc Fabregas
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