Guardiola not focused on Madrid

BY foxsports • November 21, 2010

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said his side's 8-0 demolition of Almeria should not be viewed as a warning shot across the bows of Real Madrid.

Barca equalled the club's record away win in La Liga after putting sorry Almeria - who before the match boasted the third-best defensive record in the division - to the sword.

Lionel Messi led the way with a hat-trick - his sixth of 2010 for Barca - while further strikes from Bojan Krkic (two), Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodriguez and an own goal from Santiago Acasiete completed the rout.

That is just the performance Barca would have been looking for ahead of next Monday's mouthwatering Clasico against unbeaten Madrid at the Nou Camp, although Guardiola insists not too much should be read into the result.

The Barca coach, whose side have a Champions League match with Panathinaikos to play before hosting Primera Division leaders Madrid, said: "We must still go to Greece. We didn't play here to send any warning out to anybody.

"What we've done is to respect our opponents and do what we had to do to win the game."

Barca, who have not been as clinical in front of goal this season as they would have liked, could hardly have had a better start to the clash as they raced into a 5-0 lead inside the opening 37 minutes.

Guardiola lauded his side for making the most of their opportunities, saying: "It's not easy to talk after such a one-sided result.

"We scored nearly every time we went forward, unlike other days. I want to congratulate the team on their effectiveness.

"In the first half we had the same chances as other times. In those matches we struggled to score goals, and here it's been the opposite."

Barca's biggest away league win since 1959 spelled the end for Almeria coach Juan Manuel Lillo, who was sacked immediately after the match with his side stuck in the relegation zone.

Guardiola said of his good friend: "It was an uncomfortable situation for him and for me. We've been friends for years. He's a fantastic person and an excellent coach."