Guardiola warns of Barça complacency
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola wants his players to treat their upcoming UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United as though it may be their last - even though the Catalan giants have now reached this stage of the competition three times in the last six years.
Having won their first European Cup title in 1992, Barça are now looking to conquer the continent for the fourth time having also beaten Arsenal in the 2006 final and then defeating United two years ago in Rome. That success in Italy was one of a remarkable nine trophies Barça have won in just three years under Guardiola, and it seems impossible to think there will not be many more to come from a side viewed as one of the greatest in history.
However, Guardiola, who was part of the Barça team that won the European Cup almost two decades ago at the old Wembley Stadium, is determined not to see any complacency creep in, saying today: "I hope that they (the players) feel it could be their last Champions League final. In 1992 we thought that we would never play a European Cup final again. I want my players to feel the same. We cannot waste this opportunity.
"We are so lucky to be in a final," he went on. "We have to be conscious of the fact that although we have played two finals in the last three years, we could go another 20 years without making it to another. The older players in the squad can remember what it's like to go four or five years without winning anything.
"We need to be conscious of how hard it is to get there," Guardiola added. "If we don't realise how important the game is, then we will give United an advantage, and on top of that they also have an incentive to win having lost the final two years ago."
Guardiola, who has rested a host of his senior players for tomorrow's season-ending Primera Division match against Malaga, added of the Champions League final at Wembley: "We need to prepare well. We beat them two years ago but we cannot make a mistake. We know that it will be hard, the most difficult match of the season."