Guardiola grateful for hard graft
Friday, August 28, 2009
FC Barcelona's Josep Guardiola paid tribute to his players' work ethic after they claimed another trophy while a proud Mircea Lucescu insisted FC Shakhtar Donetsk would learn from the defeat.
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Josep Guardiola paid tribute to his players' work ethic after enjoying more UEFA Super Cup glory with FC Barcelona, having been part of the Catalan club's victorious 1992 side. Pedro Rodríguez's 115th-minute strike was the difference against FC Shakhtar Donetsk in Monaco but Guardiola was keen to share the credit for what is already a second trophy of the season following last week's Spanish Super Cup triumph. For Shakhtar's Mircea Lucescu, meanwhile, there was plenty of pride in defeat, and the Romanian is confident his side will learn from their experience.
Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
It's a great evening, this is the second time I've won this trophy. I'm very lucky to have been chosen to coach these great players. They've worked very hard and made sacrifices and it's all worked out. We haven't lost the essence of our side, it's been physically tough but it all came right in the end. In April or May you're on a roll. Right now we're still at an early stage of the season; suddenly it's August and you're contesting trophies. That's why it's hard to win this competition. We've managed to bring two Super Cups home already and that's not bad at all.
I don't create players; I try to advise and support them. Pedro scored the winner but it's a team game. We always maintain an excellent standard and I'd like to congratulate those who have helped Pedro to improve his game. Zlatan Ibrahimović is improving every day, he's getting better and better. It's a new team for him and it will take time but he can combine different styles of play and he'll find his own place in the team. He's such a good player that he will fit into our game. It's no problem; his mind is open. There's many things that need time but the squad will help him adapt as soon as possible. He needs time, training and games but step by step he's going to do well for us.
Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach
It was a good match in difficult conditions; the heat made things very difficult. The teams showed a deep desire and great motivation to win. We are used to Barcelona; they always play in the same style. We have great, great players and we made them work hard to win. They have various schemes of play; we had to double up in defence and we had some excellent counterattacks that could have led to goals. At the same time, it's extremely difficult to play against this Barcelona team. They're a great side and I'm happy because we gave a good account of ourselves.
It's also a matter of courage; we made mistakes that we don't usually make, particularly when we had the ball. That made it possible for Barcelona to dominate the game. I know how Barcelona play, I've studied them and I organised my team so they couldn't speed up play and move forward quickly. They attack with a lot of players but when they lose the ball there is room for a swift counterattack. We showed a lack of experience, sometimes we were a bit scared but our team is improving all the time. We're getting better and better and I hope that will continue. I'm happy with our game but you're always a bit bitter when you lose. It's OK to lose to a great team like Barcelona, but you don't have to be happy about it.