MADRID - Amidst Barcelona's league title
celebrations on Wednesday night, coach Pep Guardiola was already
switching his focus towards how to maintain the side's
remarkable winning momentum.
Barca wrapped up their third consecutive league crown with
two games still to play after an anxious 1-1 draw at Levante,
making it nine trophies in three years since Guardiola took the
helm at the Catalan club.
The 40-year-old coach shed tears on the pitch after the
final whistle and kept repeating that it had been a particularly
hard championship to win.
"The main difficulty this year was that it came after the
World Cup and we didn't know how the players would react,"
Guardiola told reporters.
Eight of his squad helped Spain win the World Cup in South
Africa last summer.
"Experience said we would fall," he continued, reminding
everyone they needed to set a club record 99 points to win the
title last season.
"But they kept it going. We proved they had the desire to
keep winning and improving. They have taught us a lesson.
Winning five leagues in seven years is something exceptional.
"These players are unique and the club's job will be to find
fitting replacements as they keep getting older.
"Some areas have not worked so well and we need to
strengthen in some areas. There are things we can improve."
One area where Barca have found themselves short has been in
defence where injuries to Carles Puyol, Adriano Correia, Maxwell
and the surgery Eric Abidal had on a liver tumour have disrupted
the last couple of months.
Real Madrid's challenge under serial Barca-baiter Jose
Mourinho pushed them to the limits, especially during the
acrimonious four-match 'Clasico series', and their arch-rivals
beat them 1-0 to win the King's Cup Final last month.
Real have already started their strengthening programme for
next season landing Turkish playmaker Nuri Sahin from Borussia
Dortmund on Monday.
They have also been linked in the local media with moves for
Espanyol striker Jose Callejon and Bayern Munich midfielder
Barca captain Carles Puyol preferred to focus his attentions
on the Champions League final against Manchester United on May
28, and the chance to win a third European Cup in five years.
"Now is the time to celebrate because the league is an
important title," the Spanish international told the club
"Afterwards we can rest and prepare for the final at
Bayern fans snap up 45,000 tickets to watch Champions League final live at Allianz Arena
When Sir Alex wakes up on Monday morning without team to manage, he will not be putting his feet up
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder announces he will be retiring at the end of the current season
Record goal-scorer signs a one-year contract extension with Europa League winners Chelsea
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010