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"In football there is a saying, 'I have nothing left to prove' and there is no greater mistake: in football everyday there's a test to be overcome." - Pep Guardiola, after his team won their group of the Tercera Division

(Have I mentioned how much I adore this man?)

Barca fans haven't had a lot to celebrate lately. But at least our youngsters are doing well. Barca B are through to the playoffs for promotion to Seguera B in prime position.

Adorable celebration photos behind the cut, and if you have any more, please do share them.






Aww, they do get a trophy.


A Pep hug. I'm sure that's a sought-after achievement in the dressing room.

An article about the celebrations.



Shameless bit of self-promotion: I posted about Barca B and the involvement of 7 of our kids in Spain's U17 team, who just won the European Champs in my blog.

And on the subject of Pep, a kind soul named JA on the Soccerpulse forums translated a great article about his coaching methods from El Pais. I've copy and pasted the full text below the cut.



"This is not Tercera, this is Barça"

Last December 6th, Barça B played at Masnou's home at 12. In the second half, the home team equalized the two goals scored by Guardiola's team in the first. "The telling-off was monumental", one of the players says. Normally, Guardiola analyze the games the following day, but that afternoon he made an exception. "He closed the door of the locker room and told us that we didn't deserve to wear the shirt we wear, because these colors represent too many people and feelings and we were not worthy enough to play with it. We shit on our pants", the players insists.

The worst telling off had something to do with an indiscretion. In October, Sport wrote about an anecdote of the locker room. In a speech, Guardiola used the Operación Triunfo (a music contest of the TV) as an example. "He told us that they have a chance and they kill to take profit of it and we should do the same. When he saw it on the papers, he got mad and told us that explaining internal things of the locker room was a betrayal against the teammate", another player say.

Guardiola got in charge of Barça B on July 21st 2007. It was a mellon that had to be opened yet, but the taste is good. Guardiola turned to be a hard working coach, very exigent and able to transmit illussion. "He appears the first and leaves the last. And he does not stop", the football players assure; "he likes to control everything, but he let you be yourself as long as you respond to the confidence. Each day, a report. He likes to have everything under control, and he prefers to have the things prepared rather than improvisation".

Barça B played 37 games, they won 17 out of the 19 games at home, where they remain undefeated, and they've been unbeaten in 11 games. After yesterday's draw at home against Sant Andreu (1-1), they are the leaders of their Tercera group. GUardiola has worked a lot on the systems. This is why at the beginning they worked morning and afternoon. And he had the players focused the whole year. "We got here together. Now it depends on you to promote", he told them after gaining the right to fight for promotion. Now, motivation costed him expensive: "He told us that each time we win 3 games in a row, he would invite us to have lunch. He already paid three. He spent a lot of money". In lunch and fines: he got sent off twice. "He can't stop on the bench. He reminds me Luis Aragonés, Jaume Langa, Barcelona's physioterapist, says. During certain time, to avoid that the 4th referee could understand him, he cursed in Italian.

Guardiola turned to be as implacable with the linesman as he is with the players. "He left Marc Valiente, one of the captains, on the stands after he left the gym 5 minutes before the end to go to shoot an advertisement", a player says. "If you don't weight train, you don't play", the coach said. Marc Crosas, who was going from the B team to Rijkaard's lists, was subbed for Botía in the 3rd game of La Liga, in Manresa. "In the half time, he got a terrible telling off, telling him that he wasn't running at all... whenever he lost the first ball in the second half, he subbed him. If he was able to do this with Marc, what would he do with the rest?", one of the youngsters. "He always used us as an example", a captain admits, "but he is fair, with us and the rest", he adds.

"If you're that good, go to Sabadell and score a goal", Johan Cruyff told Guardiola 2 days after his debut in Primera. The day after the debut of Gay Asulin returned from his debut with Israel's first team, Guardiola, recalling Cruyff, challenged the player. "This weekend, with the U-18 team. And score a goal". Gay gave 2 assists and scored the 3rd. "He does this a lot. He challenges us. If you work, you get your prize", a players assumes; "if not, you're screwed".

"This is not Tercera División, this is Barça's B team. Not everyone plays here", he told them once. "His exigence goes beyond the pitch", his collaborators says. Guardiola do not allow the use of cell phones in the Ciudad Deportiva nor in the bus and he fines the ones who get late to the training sessions with 120 €. And at 12, at home: "If someone gets seen once, 1500 €; the second time, 3000 €. The third, out of the team". They rehearse the strategy the day of the game. If they play away, they eat at La Masia. If the game is in the Mini, each one at home.

Carles Busquets, the goalkeeper coach, smokes a cig in the parking zone because the coach didn't let him smoke in the locker room. One day, an ex teammate asked Busquets about Guardiola. "Pep? Damn. He knows what he does".

Comments

( 6 comments — Speak )
0ntheverge
May. 19th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
LOL @ the random kid in the first photo

I'm extremely happy for Barça B. I'm sure they'll win their play off matches and move on up.

From the sound of that article Pep is exactly what the first team need, a good kick in the ass. ^_^
stickmarionette
May. 19th, 2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
I sure hope so! It would be such a shame otherwise.

Let's just hope Pep is given enough power to do the things he needs to do. :D
colourreporter
May. 19th, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC)
Beautiful babies! But if you didn't write this: A Pep hug. I'm sure that's a sought-after achievement in the dressing room. with an oblique interest in potential slash . . . well, IDK ;-).

As for that article, thank God. It's nice to get a perspective that isn't about painting him as this slightly faded intellectual man of ideas but someone who can scare a team into respecting him and getting the hell on with it. Also the cursing in Italian. BRING IT ON, BB.

Thank you so much for posting!
stickmarionette
May. 19th, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC)
*grin* Well, in that article about the youth system I posted a while it was hinted that the kids were so well-behaved because they pretty much idolized Pep. Which is I suppose nothing new, since even some of our current first team players do too.

I'm hoping the first team will respect him - hell, if they don't respect him (in a Barca context), who are they going to respect?

The cursing in Italian was my favourite part. Might be a problem in the Champions League, though. :D

You're welcome!
applegnat
May. 20th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love it! Pep the disciplinarian. I'm actually looking FORWARD to his reign.
stickmarionette
May. 20th, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC)
This is the man who once wrote 'I had the privilege of being coached by Fabio Capello'. :D
( 6 comments — Speak )

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