Guardiola to go on the attack

Guardiola to go on the attack

Published Apr. 10, 2011 11:38 a.m. ET

Pep Guardiola says Barcelona will attack in next weekend's Clasico against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, despite their big lead in La Liga.

Madrid thrashed Athletic Bilbao 3-0 at San Mames on Saturday evening and Barca came from behind to beat Almeria 3-1 at home straight afterwards, meaning Guardiola's side still lead by eight points at the top of the table ahead of the Clasico.

"Let's not be mistaken - we won't go to the Bernabeu to sit back," Guardiola said.

"We have the opportunity to strike a decisive blow in this league because obviously if we lose, they will be five points behind with six games left."


Guardiola is concerned that, psychologically, his players may go out in the belief that a point in Madrid is enough, and hopes to convince them that a win is needed.

"The feeling I have is that I have to convince the players (of the need) to win the match, and reject this idea that if we don't lose, everything is fine," he said.

"We have to try and dominate and we have to try and score goals."

Since taking over as coach at Barca, Guardiola has led the Catalans to five straight Clasico wins, including a famous 6-2 success at the Santiago Bernabeu in his first season in charge and a 5-0 drubbing of Jose Mourinho's side at the Nou Camp earlier on in the current campaign.

Next weekend's Clasico is the second meeting between the two teams this term, but will be followed four days later by a third, when Barca and Madrid face off in the final of the Copa del Rey at Mestalla.

Two more meetings in the Champions League semi-finals also look likely after both Barca and Real built up big first leg leads over Shakhtar Donetsk and Tottenham respectively in the their quarter-final ties last week.

Madrid beat Spurs 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu and Barca thrashed Shakhtar 5-1 at the Nou Camp, but both sides must finish the job away from home before they meet in the Primera Division at the weekend.

Barcelona travel to Ukraine to face Shakhtar on Monday.

"We will have to play a very good game defensively and combine well so we don't suffer," Guardiola said.

"And we will have to make sure we control the game emotionally."

Defenders Eric Abidal and Carles Puyol remain sidelined and are set to miss that match, along with striker Bojan Krkic, who suffered a cruciate ligament injury in the win over Almeria on Saturday and will be out for the rest of the season.

But Victor Valdes and Sergio Busquets return after missing the Almeria game through suspension.

Javier Mascherano is also available, but the Argentina midfielder will be banned for next weekend's Clasico after picking up a fifth league booking of the season against Almeria.