Pinto ‘feeling the love’ at Barca

Barcelona’s back-up goalkeeper Jose Pinto has sung the praises of his manager Pep Guardiola.

Pinto, 35, made his first start in two years when he stepped in for the injured Victor Valdes in Barca’s 2-1 La Liga win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

The Spaniard impressed in the match, which the Catalan giants won thanks to a late Lionel Messi strike, and thanked his manager and the club’s fans for standing by him.

“First of all, I am very proud,” Pinto said.

“The manager has always shown total confidence in me.”

“I can say that as a player, feeling the love of the fans when they chant your name makes your hairs stand up.”

“Maybe not in the same game, but after it you can realise that the people value your work for the team. It is a recognition that I am proud of.”

Pinto will be heavily involved in Barcelona’s first-team activities for some time with Valdes expected to miss up to a month with a knee injury, putting him in doubt for the club’s second leg Champions League tie against Arsenal on March 8.