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Guardiola maintains focus on La Liga

SoccerNews in La Liga, UEFA Champions League 29 Apr 2011

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Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola refused to let the Champions League divert his attention from Saturday’s La Liga match against Real Sociedad.

Barca host Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on Tuesday with one foot in the final of the European Cup following a 2-0 win in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Both Barca and Real have lodged complaints with UEFA in the aftermath of a spiteful contest on Wednesday, but Guardiola would not be drawn on the controversial subject.

“I can only support the decisions of the Board of Directors,” Guardiola said.

“I defend my institution. I have always been supported by the club’s directors.”

While Barca are now heavy favourites to reach the decider at Wembley, Guardiola was quick to point out that Real are the only team to have captured a trophy (the Copa del Rey) so far this season and his own players still had the small matter of the La Liga title to wrap up.

“We are not in the final,” Guardiola said.

“The only one who has a title is Madrid, not us. In the league they are not going to give anything away. We must earn the right to play another final.”

“We are not interested in talking about the impact of Wednesday’s game, we play tomorrow in the league.”

“We have to be very aware that much of the league title depends on what we do at what is always a tough ground,” Guardiola added, referring to the trip to Sociedad’s Estadio Anoeta.

“If we don’t focus … on that, we won’t do it (win the championship). Tomorrow we’re playing for a competition that lasts 11 months.”

“It was hard against Almeria, against Osasuna, and I sense this game will also be difficult. Mathematically we are seven points away from the league title and every win means a huge step.”

Much has been made of Barca’s lack of strength in depth, with the squad now stretched by injuries and the loss of key players.

Nevertheless, Guardiola is confident his players have ample motivation to find extra reserves of energy.

“We have to find strength from wherever, we know that if we win we’ll practically be there,” he said.

“They know that we are playing for the most important title of the year, one which shows regularity, effort and work, and that makes you feel the proudest.”

“With the league title so close, there is no such thing as distractions. These three points can take us nearer to the title. At this point, there is no such thing as either physical or mental tiredness.”

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