Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pep keeps faith in Barca

Coach optimistic ahead of second-leg showdown with Chelsea

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Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola remains optimistic his side can progress to the UEFA Champions League final ahead of Chelsea as they look to overthrow a first-leg deficit. The Catalans head into the semi-final second leg on the back of successive defeats, losing 1-0 to the Blues in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge and then suffering a home defeat to arch rivals Real Madrid on Saturday. But Guardiola insists he is not feeling the pressure due to the trust he has in his players to perform.

"I have many players and can choose Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol, who are a good combination in central defence.

"We wanted to have the right players to face [Karim] Benzema, [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Angel] Di Maria and that is why I decided to play with the players I have chosen so far.

"I do appreciate Gerard because of his approach to life and because how he loves football. The rest is just my decision, the fact he plays or not."

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