Yokohama (FCB).- At the press conference prior to Thursday's match against Qatar's Al-Sadd, Josep Guardiola expressed caution before the semifinal of the Club World Cup in Japan. For Guardiola, Barça can't assume the work has been done, and must earn the right to get to the Final against Brasilian Santos: "For some time we've played every game with the feeling that we have to win everything, and I think we've done pretty well. We're trying to find out all we can about Al-Sadd. What we must do is focus on our game. Last year there were surprises, and this year won't be different. In sport there's no point assuming it's already done, you have to go and do it. We have a great chance to be in the Final, but we must win the match to be there. Having the chance to be World Champion again is an honour, and we have to deserve to be there."
The dangers of Al-Sadd
Guardiola warned that the semi-final "is very important for Barça, but also for Al-Sadd, a team that is getting better." His analysis of the Asian Champions League winners is: "Al-Sadd is a very strong, athletic team, with very fast players up front and good in the air because they are very tall. We're talking about a team that move the ball well, with very strong midfielders who work really hard. We'll try to open up the pitch, which is very big. They don't combine all that well, but on the counter attack they carry the ball a long way, and this can mean trouble. The intensity and speed that we play with will be vital."
Controlling jet lag
Guardiola admits that the Club World Cup is the title that makes him more excited, "due to the fact that we are able to play in it ... getting here is very complicated, really, really difficult," he stressed. To be able to win it, Guardiola admits that the biggest problem for the team is jet lag." Jet lag is a worry. We don't know how it will affect us. Unlike the other teams, we've only been here a few days, and there are players who are waking up at three or four in the morning. Let's see if our minds can control the lack of sleep and we can play a good game."
On central defence priorities
When asked about comments from Mascherano, in which he said that Puyol and Pique are the first choices in central defence, the manager's response was very clear: "It's Mascherano's opinion, but they are not the first choice. Everybody has to win their place on the pitch. Depending on each game, we try to get everybody involved, because I feel that's the best way forward and I have faith in all of them. I think they'll all carry on here this year, and the next."
"Marca is lying"
Pep Guardiola was very direct and clear with his answer to the question about the Spanish sports newspaper Marca's leading cover story claiming Villa is for sale. Guardiola simply stated: "Marca is lying".