Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is relieved his side will play their final El Clasico encounter with Real Madrid of the season on Tuesday.The bitter rivals are set to lock horns the the fourth occasion in 18 days in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tie at Camp Nou on Tuesday, with Barca holding a 2-0 advantage from last Wednesday’s first leg.
Guardiola, whose players were the subject of a brash post-match Jose Mourinho tirade after the Portuguese reacted angrily to the officiating in the first leg, admitted he would be happy to hear the final whistle.
Both clubs had referrals against the other turned down by UEFA’s disciplinary body on Monday, which is still investigating the conduct of the duo in the first leg of its own accord.
“Tomorrow it is over. It is over with this series of four we’ve played. Tomorrow it will be over. Some things have happened that shouldn’t have happened. But sometimes they just do,” said Guardiola, who captained the La Liga club in his playing days.
The former Brescia and Roma midfielder said the Catalans were prepared for whatever the capital side – looking to overturn a two-goal deficit – would throw at them.
“We have spoken about being ready for anything, and them having the capacity to play good football, play high up or defend deep,” he said.
“How we play will depend on how they attack and defend. We will all be prepared.”
Barcelona will be bolstered by return of pass-maestro Andres Iniesta and left-back Eric Abidal. The latter underwent surgery for a liver tumour in March, though the former Lyon player is unlikely to start on Tuesday.
But despite their 5-0 thrashing of the nine-time European champions earlier in the season in La Liga and Barcelona’s home advantage going into the second leg, Guardiola warned against complacency.
“Tomorrow is a final, so you don’t go there speculating. Madrid will have the game of their lives in order to get through to the final. This is clear. It’s the only thing that we know.”
“We have said that they will go out to eliminate us from the competition, and they have the squad to make things difficult for us.”
“The (5-0) game earlier this season is the exception to what these games are normally like. These things don’t happen normally. Normally one team wins and then the other, in close games.”