Pep keeps faith in Barca
Coach optimistic ahead of second-leg showdown with Chelsea
Last Updated: April 24, 2012 9:16am
Pep Guardiola: Remains optimistic Barca can overthrow Chelsea
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola remains optimistic his side can progress to the UEFA Champions League final ahead of Chelsea as they look to overthrow a first-leg deficit.
The Catalans head into the semi-final second leg on the back of successive defeats, losing 1-0 to the Blues in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge and then suffering a home defeat to arch rivals Real Madrid on Saturday.
But Guardiola insists he is not feeling the pressure due to the trust he has in his players to perform.
"I don't know if this is the most important moment of my career as a coach, but I have always faced these challenges with a lot of optimism as I believe in my players and team," he said.
"Whenever you have a defeat, the day after the match you feel a little low but afterwards you get faith in the facts and I am optimistic because I know them well and that we will work hard.
"We try to cover everything that is important so we just try and do that.
"We will analyse the challenge and I think we have had other challenges over the years.
"I cannot really tell you if this is the most important challenge of my life."
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Barcelona's chances against the Blues have been boosted by Lionel Messi's fitness.
The reigning world player of the year missed training on Sunday but returned on Monday in an open media session at Camp Nou.
Gerard Pique also trained and Guardiola batted away talk of a rift with the Spain international, who has been left out of the past two matches.
"Well, Leo had a gastric issue," Guardiola said. "The doctor saw him and he called us before the training session.
"He didn't go to it as he didn't feel well but now he is ok.
"As for Gerard, there is no problem at all. He has had an injury for a long time.
"I have many players and can choose Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol, who are a good combination in central defence.
"We wanted to have the right players to face [Karim] Benzema, [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Angel] Di Maria and that is why I decided to play with the players I have chosen so far.
"I do appreciate Gerard because of his approach to life and because how he loves football. The rest is just my decision, the fact he plays or not."