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Coach Josep Guardiola said the FC Barcelona dressing room was a "happy place" after the Catalan giants safely negotiated passage to the 2011 UEFA Champions League final. A 1-1 draw rounded off a 3-1 aggregate victory over a "great" Real Madrid CF side but the Blaugrana boss warns that with the end in sight his players need to keep their focus – starting with Sunday's derby against RCD Espanyol.
Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
Taking into account what these players have come through it's incredible. They just keep going and going. I give my thanks to every one of them; what they have achieved is beyond definition. We won our first European Cup in Wembley [in 1992] and now we are going in search of our fourth.
In the first half, except for the first ten minutes, we had the ball and we played great football while coming up against a great [Iker] Casillas. After the break we dropped off slightly but our goal brought calm. There was a moment when if Madrid had scored a second we would have had problems.
I would like to highlight the great game Madrid played. They are a team with nine European Champions Clubs' Cups and being the richest and most powerful team in the world we knew it was going to be hard against them, we knew they would be going for it tonight.
The dressing room is a happy place at the moment. There has been so much work behind this; many of the players started the season on the back of a World Cup.
It's a real feat getting to the final after such a hard season, and on top of that to eliminate a great team like Madrid.
The Liga is up next; we need to get some players back. We have a decisive game against Espanyol on Sunday that could get us closer to our goal. The league is the most important competition, the one that gives the most credibility, and we are just four points shy of winning it.
I'm not sure who we will face but I imagine it will be Manchester United. I think Sir Alex Ferguson is always there, in the Champions League or Premier League, competing for titles. It would be an honour for me, a young coach, to reach the final against him.
I spoke [with José Mourinho] before the game, running through various hypotheses of what might happen and what we should do at certain times. After the game he contacted the dressing room to congratulate the entire team. If things hadn't happened the way they did in the first leg we could have arrived here at 0-0. In difficult circumstances the team faced up to things.
Madridistas should be proud of what we have done over the past month. There are still games to go in the league and until they are complete we won't evaluate our season.
Today the team demonstrated what it is all about; one that stands tall in adversity. The supporters have seen again what this team represents and we demonstrated different styles of play and created chances.
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