Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola has elected to praise his side’s win over Real Madrid rather than respond to Jose Mourinho’s criticism.
Lionel Messi scored a superb brace to help Barca to a 2-0 victory at the Bernabeu in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final tie on Wednesday.
Guardiola said he was content with the Catalans’ improvement on their underwhelming display in the 1-0 loss to their arch rivals in the Copa del Rey last Wednesday.
“We did not allow Madrid chances throughout the first half and that’s very hard to do,” Guardiola said.
“I’m very proud. (David) Villa was sharp and (Seydou) Keita’s work was also very important. But Madrid will be more dangerous on Tuesday (in the second leg).”
“We corrected some things we did bad in the (Copa del Rey) final.”
The reigning Spanish champions capitalised on their one-man advantage after Real Madrid defender-turned-midfielder Pepe’s second-half sending off, with Barcelona’s substitute goalkeeper Sergio Pinto having already been red carded for his part in a fracas between the two sides at half-time.
Mourinho was also sent to the stands for his vehement protests at the dismissal of Pepe.
But having bitten back at comments by Mourinho in the lead-up to the clash – calling his Portuguese opponent the ‘f—— chief’ – Guardiola would not be drawn into addressing the Real boss’ post-match comments that Barca received favourable decisions from referees.
”We played a very good game. The team was very aggressive. We won a lot of duels (and) Keita helped us a lot. We’re now 90 minutes away from Champions League final and we’re trying to get there,” Guardiola said.
“We are lucky to have Messi. At the age of 23, he’s the third top scorer in our club’s history and that’s impressive.”
The former Barcelona captain warned his side the tie was not over, with 90 minutes still to play at Camp Nou next Tuesday.
“We have to recover for (Saturday’s) league match and the second leg next Tuesday, but we are not at Wembley yet,” he said.
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