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Rediff.com  » Sports » Barca coach Guardiola relishing Wembley return

Barca coach Guardiola relishing Wembley return

Last updated on: May 4, 2011 12:26 IST

'It's an honour to reach the final of the Champions League'

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Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is looking forward to a Champions League final at the place where he tasted his only triumph in Europe's elite club competition as a player -- Wembley Stadium.

The former midfielder was a key part of the Barca team that won the European Cup in 1992 against Sampdoria at the old Wembley before the stadium was rebuilt.

Tuesday's 1-1 draw with arch rivals Real Madrid sent Guardiola's team through 3-1 on aggregate to the May 28 final, where they will play English Premier League leaders Manchester United or Bundesliga side Schalke 04.

"Now we are going to play again in Wembley and it's an honour to reach the final of the Champions League," the 40-year-old told a news conference.

"Football is coming home no?," he added, a reference to the theme song for the Euro 1996 championships held in England.

"I would have preferred to play in the old Wembley and I don't know if everyone will be supporting

Manchester United but we will try to recover the players and try to keep showing the world our style of football.

"That means keeping the ball as long as possible and showing respect for the opponent."


Image: Pep Guardiola
Photographs: Reuters
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'We will respect the opponent but take the ball and attack'

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Real were on the receiving end of another Barca masterclass in possession football on Tuesday when the Catalan club had 64 percent of the ball and restricted their opponent's formidable attack to just one shot on goal.

Guardiola said United, who have a 2-0 lead over Schalke 04 from last week's first leg ahead of Wednesday's return match at Old Trafford, were a different team to the one Barca beat 2-0 in the 2009 final in Rome and praised their manager Alex Ferguson.

"He has been able to readapt constantly and recreate teams and win and win and get to many finals," Guardiola said.

"We will find out tomorrow who our opponent will be and we are going to prepare as best as possible.

"They (United) have different strikers and attackers but their mentality will be the same.

"We will respect the opponent but take the ball and attack. That's the way we play football."


Image: Barcelona's supporters celebrate in the city centre after their team qualified for the Champions League final by beating Real Madrid
Photographs: Reuters
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