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English Premiership

Bring on United – Guardiola

LONDON, May 7, 2009 (AFP) – Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola is anticipating a classic Champions League final when his side take on Manchester United in Rome later this month.PEP_GUARDIOLAGuardiola will spend the next three weeks studying videos of United’s recent performances, including last year’s semi-final victory over Barca, in an attempt to finesse his tactics for the final.

But he vowed there would be no fundamental change from the approach that has seen his side score 147 goals in all competitions this season.

"We won’t change our approach, which is take the ball, move the ball and try to create chances.

"Manchester is the reigning champion and they are unbelievable team with a coach with huge experience. But we are Barcelona.

"I think it is going to be a nice final because we are going to attack we going to score goals and they know that."

Wednesday’s win, which followed Saturday’s 6-2 thrashing of Real Madrid, has left Guardiola on the brink of a Spanish League/Champions League double in his first season in charge at the club he served as a stylish midfielder.

"I did not expect so many good results in my first season," Guardiola admitted. "But we are where we are and now have to try and close out the league and think ahead to three weeks time and the final in Rome."

Guardiola was as happy for match-winner Iniesta as he was distraught for Daniel Alves and Eric Abidal, who will both miss the final as a result of the yellow and red cards they received here.

"I’m very happy for Iniesta. He is a player who represents what Barca stands. He gets a lot of stick for not scoring enough goals but hopefully that will stop now because he has scored one of the most important in the club’s history."

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Guardiola added: "Daniel and Eric are happy we went through but it is tough for them because they will miss the final.

"I spoke to Daniel before the match and told him that he had to control his emotions or he would not be in the final.

"But when he plays he puts all his emotion on the field and sometimes it is tough to control himself."

France left-back Abidal was dismissed for what appeared to be a professional foul on Nicolas Anelka, but television replays suggested that the defender had not made contact with his compatriot.

Nevertheless, Abidal will be suspended for the final and Guardiola will be without both his first-choice fullbacks, as well as one of his regular centrebacks, Rafael Marquez.



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