Guardiola wants Barcelona to improve on 2009 triumph

Updated: 28 May 2011 10:34 IST

Pep Guardiola insists Barcelona will have to improve on their 2009 Champions League final triumph against Manchester United if they want to win Europe's elite club prize again in the re-match at Wembley on Saturday.

Guardiola wants Barcelona to improve on 2009 triumph

London:

Pep Guardiola insists Barcelona will have to improve on their 2009 Champions League final triumph against Manchester United if they want to win Europe's elite club prize again in the re-match at Wembley on Saturday.

Guardiola's side ran out convincing 2-0 winners against United in Rome two years ago and Barca go into their showdown with Sir Alex Ferguson's team as favourites to cap a majestic campaign with the Spanish club's fourth European Cup.

But although Barca eventually cruised to victory in the Eternal City thanks to goals from Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi, Barca coach Guardiola has watched the match again several times since and has taken note of some alarming signs.

He noticed how United dominated the first 10 minutes before the Eto'o goal and was unhappy with the way Barca let their intensity drop at times.

Guardiola is convinced Barca will lose on Saturday if they produce a similar performance and has spent this week drumming home that message to his players.

"We played worse in Rome than we want to play tomorrow (Saturday)," Guardiola said on Friday.

"It's very strange to say that and I'm happy to have won, but let's be honest, we have to play much better than in 2009 to win.

"We have to play much quicker. In terms of intensity and a few other things, they weren't quite as good as we would have liked.

"That is something I have told my players repeatedly over the last few days. If the players who played in Rome played like that now we wouldn't win.

"I am worried about everything about Manchester United. They have fantastic, powerful players and are as good as we are.

"This not yesterday's team. This is an historic team. They have been through everything and we know how they do things.

"They are one of the complete teams I have seen in all senses. That is why we have to play a great game."

Although Guardiola is rightly respectful of United's qualities, he is convinced Barca are capable of emulating their Roman conquest if they maintain this season's high performance and intensity levels.

"Ferguson said there were four or five different teams he could pick. That shows the quality they have but we have looked at them enough to know what we need to do," Guardiola said.

"Strong points? They have a lot of them, but weak points? Well they have a lot of them too. We have to use what we have got as well as we can.

"We are ready. We are in the right mood. There were a few things I wasn't so keen on in training, but what I've seen generally says we are ready to meet the challenge.

"If we play as we have over the last year and give everything I believe that will be enough."

If Barca do win their second European Cup in three years on Saturday, it will be the 10th trophy of Guardiola's three-year reign.

For some that will be enough to crown Lionel Messi and company as the greatest team of all time, but Guardiola refuses to rank his men alongside the sport's immortals.

"It is impossible to answer this question. The Ajax of (Johan) Cruyff, (Arrigo) Sacchi's Milan, the Real Madrid of (Alfredo) Di Stefano and Santos of Pele were all great," he said.

"If in 10 years people say one time I saw Barcelona and they played well then we are glad, but to say we are the best team ever is impossible. It is not true.

"You need time to go by for people to judge you. It's like films, only with the passage of time do you know it is a good film."

Although Guardiola has enjoyed a remarkably successful time at the Nou Camp his future remains uncertain due to the intense pressure of managing such a famous club.

Some in the Spanish media suggest he could leave before the start of next season, but Guardiola wouldn't be drawn on his future.

"No, today is not a day to talk about this. This is a show and we have worked an enormous amount of days to get here. Leaving? Leave that for another day."

Topics : Football Alex Ferguson Wayne Rooney Chelsea Barcelona Manchester United Arsenal
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