Successive defeats by
Chelsea and Real Madrid have not diminished Pep Guardiola's
faith in his players or his belief that they will immediately
get back to winning ways, the Barcelona coach said on Monday.
The Spanish and European champions host Chelsea on Tuesday
needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit from last week's Champions
League semi-final first leg and are on the brink of losing their
domestic title after Real's 2-1 win at the Nou Camp put Jose
Mourinho's side seven points clear with four games left.
Guardiola was on the receiving end of rare criticism after
the loss to Real but gave a defiant and confident performance at
a news conference before the Chelsea game.
"I have to face these situations and I can face them with a
certain sadness about recent results or I can face them with
optimism," the former Barca and Spain midfielder said.
"I have faith in my players, you know that, and I have faith
in them in good and bad times," he added.
"Whenever you suffer defeat you feel a bit low but
afterwards you gain faith from analysing the facts.
"We are talking about very experienced players who have
faced these kinds of situations many times before.
"They prepare properly and they compete properly and I don't
think tomorrow will be different."
Chelsea and Real got the better of Barca by allowing them to
dominate possession, defending solidly in numbers and looking to
catch them on the break and Guardiola said he expected a similar
scenario on Tuesday.
The 41-year-old, who has led Barca to 13 titles since taking
over in 2008, was criticised for leaving Cesc Fabregas, Alexis
Sanchez and Pedro out of his starting lineup against Real but
defended his tactics.
"I have seen the match against Madrid and I really don't
think we made mistakes," he said.
"I saw it this morning and I think we had control, I think
we did a good job.
"We didn't have that many chances but it's very difficult
with Real Madrid.
"We have a very distinctive way of playing and we have
played like this for four years and as long as I am coach we
will do the same.
"Our first and fundamental principle is based on kids
playing the ball around and having fun. That's never going to
change. The ball is the master of everything."
Guardiola said World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, whom
Chelsea and Barca managed to prevent adding to his tally of 63
goals in all competitions this season, had missed training on
Sunday because of gastric problems but had now recovered.
"Our mentality is that we are starting tomorrow with a 1-0
deficit and we have to overturn it, that's it," Guardiola said.
"In general I am always optimistic. The more successful you
are the more demanding the job becomes and it's a challenge but
it's a positive challenge."
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