Guardiola remains wary of Real Madrid

Guardiola remains wary of Real Madrid

Published Jan. 18, 2012 12:00 a.m. ET

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola heads into his 13th Clasico on Wednesday insisting his impressive record against Real Madrid counts for nothing.

Guardiola has won eight of his 12 meetings against the Catalan club's arch rivals since taking over in summer 2008, losing on only one occasion.

But he knows that will have no bearing on Wednesday night's Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg against Jose Mourinho's Primera Division leaders.

"Going to the Bernabeu we must be wise to get through," he said at his pre-match press conference.


"The only way to get a result and have the tie alive is to go to win the game.

"Madrid are the strongest opponents that we can find. Against Madrid you cannot feel a favourite.

"In sport there are no precedents. It matters what you do at the time.

"Tomorrow is a new day and 90,000 people will support a team in white. You have to start again. That's the beauty. This work makes sense because it offers passion."

Guardiola has named the 15 available first-team players and Barca B's Isaac Cuenca, Martin Montoya, Jonathan dos Santos and Sergi Roberto in his squad, and confirmed on Tuesday evening veteran goalkeeper Jose Pinto will start between the posts.

"I have decided to play Pinto because he deserves it and is an excellent keeper," added the Barca boss, who celebrates his 41st birthday on Wednesday.

The 19-man group trained on Tuesday afternoon and will head to the capital on Wednesday morning.

Forward Pedro was also present at the Ciutat Esportiva as he begins his recovery from a leg injury sustained in Thursday's cup win at Osasuna.

Guardiola also expressed his delight at the renewal of Eric Abidal's contract. The Frenchman has agreed a one-year contract extension with the European champions, with the option for another two seasons on top of that.

"This is great news," said the Barca boss. "Finding a player like him in the market is very difficult. You know my opinion about him - he makes his mark on the people and is a fantastic player."