FC Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola admitted his charges "don't like losing, regardless of the circumstances" after their 20-game unbeaten run ground to a halt with a 3-2 defeat by FC Shakhtar Donetsk at Camp Nou.
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Josep Guardiola admitted his FC Barcelona "don't like losing, regardless of the circumstances" after their 20-match unbeaten run came to an end with a 3-2 defeat by FC Shakhtar Donetsk at Camp Nou. Yet with qualification to the knockout stage as Group C winners assured and an eye on Saturday's Liga meeting with Real Madrid CF, the Barça coach named a largely second-string XI, a decision applauded by Shakhtar counterpart Mircea Lucescu. The Ukrainian champions now switch to the UEFA Cup on the back of a "great victory" but Lucescu admits he still has nightmares about the first meeting between the sides.
Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
We lost but overall we performed well throughout the group phase. We are happy because our job was done before this final match and that allowed us to rest players. We had a few problems in the final third; our strikers didn't have too much luck, and Shakhtar had played a good game and demonstrated that they are a team that know how to play on the counterattack. It is a defeat that needn't concern us because it was an unusual situation, but obviously we don't like losing, regardless of the circumstances.
Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach
I want to congratulate Guardiola for his team selection. It was logical that he would seek to rest his key players with a match against Real Madrid on Saturday. The players that came in played at a high level, with motivation and great quality. It is, nonetheless, a great victory at Camp Nou, a very difficult place to come and win, and it brought some kind of vengeance after our defeat by Barcelona in Donetsk. I still keep on thinking about the dramatic outcome of the first game in Donetsk [when Barcelona scored twice in the last three minutes to win 2-1]. I think Barça can go all the way and win the Champions League. But, of course, Shakhtar should have finished second in this group, not Sporting.