Guardiola: Battles with Real are a 'gift'
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is relishing the possibility of four matches against Real Madrid after guiding his side safely into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals last night.
Lionel Messi's goal in Ukraine secured the Catalan club a 1-0 quarter-final second-leg win at Shakhtar Donetsk and a comfortable 6-1 aggregate victory.
With Real holding a 4-0 advantage over Tottenham Hotspur ahead of their second leg at White Hart Lane tonight, the arch-rivals look set to go head-to-head over two legs in the last four of Europe's premier club competition.
They also meet in La Liga this weekend and in the Copa del Rey final at the Mestalla next Wednesday.
On the prospect of four imminent clasicos, Guardiola said on the club's website: "[It's] the chance to compete with the most powerful team.
"No matter how many times we play them, they are still the most powerful team in every sense - the strongest, the ones in the best form, the ones with an unstoppable squad.
"We shall accept the challenge and go for it." He added: "It doesn't matter what condition we are in. What matters is mentality and desire.
"This is a gift that any sports person would be delighted to accept. In this situation, all we can do is thank the players, and treat what's happening as a gift."
Asked how his players would deal with the pressure, he replied: "In a very relaxed way, trying to do their job in the best possible way. We can't do any better than that.
"Now we have to compete with a very strong opponent. The interior peace that comes from knowing that we have taken this club so far in all three competitions is indescribable.
"Now we just have to enjoy it. It is a pleasure to be able to enjoy this opportunity."
Guardiola dedicated last night's triumph to striker Bojan Krkic, who looks set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury during Saturday's 3-1 home win over Almeria.
"I want to dedicate this win to Bojan," the 40-year-old said. "I hope it gives him the strength to recover as quickly as possible."