The official website for European football

Barça pep talk for Ibrahimović

Published: Wednesday 24 February 2010, 9.57CET
Coach Josep Guardiola felt that Zlatan Ibrahimović's equaliser at VfB Stuttgart vindicated the decision to allow the Swede to lead the FC Barcelona line, noting: "It's goals that count in football."
by Andy James
from Stuttgart

This content is streamed in such a way that it is protected and available only in a Flash format. Your device seems not to be compatible with our Flash video player.

UEFA.com features

Sheridan taking the heat at APOEL
  • Sheridan taking the heat at APOEL
  • McGregor making his mark back at Celtic
  • Atlético's Filipe Luís to fill Cole's boots at Chelsea
  • Watch and rate Mexès's overhead spectacular
  • Di Stéfano on his five European Cup wins
  • Watch Van Basten's bicycle kick
  • 'A long time coming' for St Patrick's
  • Madrid return to heroes' welcome
  • UEFA Champions League final facts and figures
  • Lisbon final's Champions League of nations
1 of 10
 
 
Published: Wednesday 24 February 2010, 9.57CET

Barça pep talk for Ibrahimović

Coach Josep Guardiola felt that Zlatan Ibrahimović's equaliser at VfB Stuttgart vindicated the decision to allow the Swede to lead the FC Barcelona line, noting: "It's goals that count in football."

FC Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola was pleased to see Zlatan Ibrahimović silence his critics after the striker helped the UEFA Champions League holders to a first knockout round first-leg draw away to VfB Stuttgart.

Ibrahimović's 52nd-minute strike cancelled out Cacau's 25th-minute opener and gave Guardiola opportunity to rebuff any recent criticism of the 28-year-old Swedish international. "Strikers are judged by goals and he scored again, so surely that has to be good for everyone," said Guardiola. "The goal gave him the impetus he needed, and at the end of the day it's goals that count in football."

Stuttgart performed admirably in the opening period, defending stoutly against the Barcelona passing machine early on before seizing the initiative and creating a host of chances as the half progressed. Gerard Piqué insisted it was no surprise that the home side handed Barcelona such a stern test despite the visitors' billing as favourites.

"They made it this far because they have a good team," said the centre-back. "Obviously they were on their home pitch and had their own fans behind them, but they put us under a good deal of pressure in the first half and made it difficult for us to play our usual game."

Midfielder Andrés Iniesta concurred: "It's always tough playing in Germany. We knew it would be difficult, but we were poor at times." While the Blaugrana enjoyed the lion's share of possession, apart from a Lionel Messi attempt that Jens Lehmann turned on to the post shortly half-time, they only began to threaten once the scores were level. "In the second half we improved and at 1-1 the tie is firmly in our favour," continued the Spanish international.

Having been warned by Guardiola about the "German virtues" which could impede their progress in the competition prior to the first leg, Barça head into the second at Camp Nou on 17 March with a crucial away goal. Its author, Ibrahimović, believes it may go a long way towards securing a quarter-final berth. "I think it was a good result, absolutely," he said. "The away goal is important. It gives you the advantage in the second game."

With Barcelona on course to become the first club to successfully defend the UEFA Champions League title, Guardiola has full confidence in his star ensemble. "No team has managed to do it yet, but I think we performed well enough," added the 39-year-old. "Stuttgart are a good side, but we're confident of a result on home turf."

Last updated: 27/11/12 18.10CET

Related information

Player profiles
Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=1453690.html#barca+talk+ibrahimovic

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE words, the UEFA Champions League logo and trophy and the UEFA Champions League Final logos are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.