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Guardiola: We chose to be brave

SoccerNews in La Liga 11 Dec 2011

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Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola hailed his side’s bravery after Saturday’s 3-1 Clasico win over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

Guardiola’s side moved to the top of La Liga with their Clasico win, which came thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas.

What made the win even more impressive was the fact that Barca conceded after just 22 seconds, with Real Madrid’s French striker Karim Benzema handing the hosts the perfect start.

But a bold Barca side responded in style with another terrific win.

“I am delighted with the performance,” Guardiola said.

“I have never come here without them (Barcelona) creating chances. We had to try. In life you have to choose to be brave, or very brave.”

Barcelona conceded when a horrific pass from goalkeeper Victor Valdes led to them turning over possession, with Benzema lashing home from close range after a series of deflections.

“The best thing was that Valdes kept on passing the ball after the goal. That showed his strength and the strength of the team,” Guardiola said afterwards.

He also rejected suggestions that the win could have reprecussions for Real Madrid, who still have a game in hand on their rivals.

“(Real) Madrid will recover. To win here you need to have a very good game, and now we have. They remain the leaders if they win in Sevilla,” Guardiola said.

Real boss Jose Mourinho bemoaned Barcelona’s luck with their second goal, after Xavi’s shot took a wicked deflection off Marcelo before beating Iker Casillas. He also pointed the finger at captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who wasted two gilt-edged chances.

“The first half was balanced, but the goal in second half was pure luck and nothing more,” Mourinho said.

“After that, they had the psychological supremacy that comes with being in front and they were able to pass the ball around and keep it as they love to do.”

“But luck plays a part. With the (score at) 1-0, we should have gone 2-0 up, which under normal circumstances we would have, because Cristiano (Ronaldo) normally puts the ball inside (the goal).”

A calm Mourinho said his players were disappointed, but preferred to focus on the positives.

“The dressing room is sad but relaxed,” he said.

“We are level on points now (with Barca) but we have a game in hand. If we win at Sevilla (in our next match), we will be the leaders.”

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