Pep Press Conference Quotes: vs. Racing

While we all wait in giddy anticipation of Kevin’s review, I thought a translation of Pep’s press conference after the game would lead to some good talking points. Pep always does a good presser. What separates him from other coaches is that he is not bombastic, generally avoids controversy, and is usually refreshingly honest in his answers while still being entertaining. Here are the goods:

On the game:

“We lacked rhythm. When one suffers a defeat, you have to win in the next game because if you don’t, the ball starts getting bigger and things get harder. However, we still have to take yet another step. This is not good enough to make us champions. We played comfortably but not brilliantly. We missed rhythm with the ball.”

“We have to take another step forward. We did some very good things but we still have to add more simplicity to our ball circulation and just play better. From here on out, it’s serious.”

On the Ibra injury:

“Ibra got hurt in Madrid. They gave him three stitches, he kept on playing, and the ankle was bothering him all week. One hour before kickoff he told us he could not go. He had that ankle swollen to the size of a potato. The doctors say that the inflammation will be gone by Tuesday and we still hope he can play against Stuttgart. I don’t know if one of the stiches may have gotten infected.”

On Henry scoring again:

“I hope his goal restores his morale because he deserves it and the team right now needs him even more.”

On Bojan:

“He is a 9 but I want him to be more versatile. He met my challenge today. He is still very young, possibly the youngest player on the roster. Pedro and Jeffren are older than him. The thing is that he came up too quickly and he is still learning. I am happy that he has taken another step forward.”

On Busquets:

“He played spectacularly well.”

On Thiago running to the bench and celebrating with Jonathan:

“He can’t do those things at his age. At 30 years old, yes. Not now. He should celebrate with his teammates and get back to his job: keep helping the team.

On Thiago and Jonathan:

“Thiago is fearless. We have to cut him down to size and put his feet back on the ground every now and then. However, that’s one of the great qualities that he has. Sometimes he does things that make you say: uuuffff! He’s got something special. He still has to keep learning and improving with Luis Enrique at the youth team but soon enough he will be ready to help us out over here full time. Jonathan is also very aggressive and fearless even though Thiago has a bit better one-on-one. Jonathan is very graceful and organized in his positioning. He never loses his place on the pitch. Both of them inspire me with a lot of confidence.”

On Marquez:

“He recovered his best form two weeks ago. He was out of commission for months, he needed to get back in form, and now he’s there. He is a huge guarantee for us.”

That’s what I got on short notice folks. Hopefully this will give us something to debate and tear up before Kevin sticks his head into the oven with his usually universally non-controversial review 😀 .  In the meantime, here are some highlights from the youtubes:

Shoot! I forgot the most important part. I saw a pig fly this afternoon and I was not disturbed at all. After watching Iniesta score a goal, anything is possible 😀 .

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A diehard culé since the Rivaldo/Figo Judas days, I am also a rabid Argentina and Boca Juniors fan despite definitely not being Argentine. Read more articles by me by clicking on the name-link.

61 Comments

  1. Jose
    February 20, 2010

    I absolutely loved the joy in all the goal-scorers faces today… Iniesta breaking his goal-scorin curse (first since Stamford Bridge!), Henry getting out of his rut, Marquez putting his first goal of the season (if I’m not mistaken), and Thiago his first senior Barca goal EVER!

    Joy 😀

  2. drew
    February 20, 2010

    busquets was great in his advanced role today. in time i think that will be his best position in the team.
    hopefully fabregas saw this match and realized maybe he should stay at arsenal.

  3. drew
    February 20, 2010

    and the pep post conference translation is a great idea Hector!
    if not too much to ask, maybe after every game?
    i know, that sounds abit greedy

  4. Carles P
    February 20, 2010

    Marquez had a pretty good game. I definitely liked the Yaya-Busi-Iniesta partnership.

    Also glad to see Henry getting into his groove, hopefully he is back to his usual high standards.

  5. Boat Forever
    February 20, 2010

    Yo Busi… Always maintained that’s his best position and see “He played spectacularly well!!” 🙂

    Very interesting comment about Thiago, I don’t understand what’s wrong with celebrating with bench. Yeah you need to celebrate with your team first, which he obviously did and also felt like sharing his joy with his dear friend Jonathan!! Jonathantara Pep

    Nice idea Hector, thanks 🙂

    Have you guys seen that compilation of all the press conferences of Pep from last year? feast that was 🙂

      • Boat Forever
        February 20, 2010

        *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DCgkiIaIqM&feature=related
        *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjlNyoMO1sM&feature=related
        *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZdxDArAuRg&feature=fvsr

  6. February 20, 2010

    Hey all, any downloadable copies of the Racing match?

    If one of you all put one up and help me out, just maybe, I’ll have my match-post on my blog within a day or two (or three), instead of A WEEK, as in the case of the Atletico match. Please all check that out too, I just finalized that not half an hour before today’s match. When you look, you might find a few differences between my views of the match and Kevin, if that’s at all a hook. I must say (on his blog) that I still can’t compare to the journalism and ease that shows through in Kevin’s writing-

    • Blow-Grenade
      February 21, 2010

      They usually put the match up on mysoccerplace.net. Have a look there tomorrow.

    • Jnice
      February 21, 2010

      Sky Sports:

      1st half
      *http://rapidshare.com/files/353541705/First_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Racing_Santander_-_20-02-10.part1.rar
      *http://rapidshare.com/files/353541708/First_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Racing_Santander_-_20-02-10.part2.rar
      *http://rapidshare.com/files/353541904/First_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Racing_Santander_-_20-02-10.part3.rar
      *http://rapidshare.com/files/353541906/First_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Racing_Santander_-_20-02-10.part4.rar
      *http://rapidshare.com/files/353541765/First_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Racing_Santander_-_20-02-10.part5.rar

      2nd half:

      *http://rapidshare.com/files/353541768/Second_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Racing_Santander_-_20-02-10.part1.rar
      *http://rapidshare.com/files/353542044/Second_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Racing_Santander_-_20-02-10.part2.rar
      *http://rapidshare.com/files/353547705/Second_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Racing_Santander_-_20-02-10.part3.rar
      *http://rapidshare.com/files/353542047/Second_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Racing_Santander_-_20-02-10.part4.rar
      *http://rapidshare.com/files/353542299/Second_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Racing_Santander_-_20-02-10.part5.rar

      or Mediafire links

      *http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=083f4a63779b1018ab1eab3e9fa335ca595a14279ff9f1cb

  7. February 20, 2010

    Hector, I must say with all the Google-translations out there, you could make a weekly post out of this type of thing. There’s certainly a niche there for the bilingual writer to exploit (if you don’t already someplace else). Great stuff-

    “We have to cut him down to size sometimes and get his feet back on the ground…Sometimes [Thiago] does things that make you say, uuufff!” Over-confidence can wreak some real damage on a career, and I thought this was spoken like a true (ex-)reserves coach.

  8. barca96
    February 20, 2010

    maybe pep does not want thiago and jds to be too close as he might drop and sell one of them?maybe?
    on a more serious note, why didnt messi celebrate thiago’s goal ala ronaldo?

    • Karo
      February 20, 2010

      Messi didn’t seem like he wanted to be on the pitch the entire game for some reason

      • barca96
        February 20, 2010

        i watched the match only from 67min fell asleep just 30 mins before the game.
        did messi get a knock earlier in the game?

        • Karo
          February 21, 2010

          he looked as he was uncomfortable with one of his knees

          • Reaper -> the artist formerly known as Reagan
            February 21, 2010

            yeah, seems like he was holding his knee in pain in the first half but he gave a thumbs up to pep when he was asked if he was okay. maybe a tiny niggle.

            Iniesta was sensational yesterday!! His work ethic is extraordinary!

  9. Mario
    February 21, 2010

    This “Oh, Barca is so much better without lazy Ibra” comment I keep reading is just stupid. Can we say the same thing about Xavi, because he wasn’t playing today?

    • El Bombonero
      February 21, 2010

      word.

      too much criticism for ibra at this stage, he has to be given time to settle in.

    • adal
      February 21, 2010

      Agreed. Today we were lucky. Got an early goal and Racing’s defense was just crappy so it looked sharp. But according to Pep, we didn’t play that well. If we were playing against any decent team who parked the bus in front of goal, you would hear ’em bitch crying after Zlatan.

  10. Raj
    February 21, 2010

    Thanks for the post. I hope this becomes a regular thing since it so difficult to get the post match conference in English. I really appreciate it.

  11. Helge
    February 21, 2010

    First of all, I gotta admit that this time, Pep knew best. I wanted to see Milito over Marquez and I think almost everybody’s preferred line-up included Marquez, but in the end, Marquez had a solid game in the back, scored a brilliant freekick and gave an assist to Iniesta. Gotta take my hat off to him.

    Interesting comment about Bojan (“the thing is that he came up too quickly”), that’s some criticism for Frank Rijkaard. And as you can see in his Thiago comment, he won’t do the mistake that Rijkaard did. You simply have to love our centenario. Congratz, Pep.

    • adal
      February 21, 2010

      what about messi? Did he come up too quickly? Without the chance he was given, he would’ve become the Messi you know today. If it were Pep who was coach at the time, you probably won’t see today’s Messi.

      • Helge
        February 21, 2010

        Messi is one in one hundred million, maybe Pep would have recognized that, but he also knows that Bojan, Thiago & co. are not as unique as Messi is.

        • adal
          February 21, 2010

          How would you know if he’s one in one hundred million unless you give him a try? And how could you tell how different they would be when you look at them at the age of 16 or 17.
          My point is that I don’t think it was a mistake. It was a choice the coach took, as the case of Messi and Bojan, or even any transfer. It was a decision made, period.
          I sense a tendency (not to this post, just a general rant) that people are treating Pep as God or Saint these days. Everything he says and does become sacred and cannot/must not be questioned. Such a blindness worship would cause much damage to Pep , to the team and to the club if the team is in a downside.

          • Bill
            February 21, 2010

            I agree with this assessment. Under Rijkaard, Messi, Iniesta, Bojan and Dos santos were brought in carefully, integrated into the team without putting too much pressure on them, and they were all blossoming beautifully.

            When your coach has faith in you at a tender age, you tend to respond and grow. When he puts you in a game with less than 5 minutes to go, and you barely touch the ball, it does nothing for your learning curve.

            Ronaldo at 19 was much worse than Bojan.

        • vicsoc8
          February 21, 2010

          Some of us already thought Bojan had been brought up too quickly. Interesting that Pep has come out and agreed with our assessment.

          • Jim
            February 21, 2010

            Agreed. Dos Santos was in the same category. Not saying they wouldn’t be top footballers eventually. The problem is we’re so keen to see new talent we immeadiately invest them with world beating capabilities and from then on the ability to make mistakes out of the light is gone. In a way i feel sorry for Bojan. He seems a nice lad and works his socks off but I’m still not sure he as the one kiler talent or the overall ability that can earn him a place at this level.

      • Cesc Blanc
        February 21, 2010

        Messi is different than Bojan. Every player is unique in its own way. Messi has a don’t give a fark attitude and plays with a chip on his shoulder, Bojan is a much more thoughtful kid and has some anxiety issues. There were too many expectations and too much pressure on him from an early age. When Messi came through, the squad was in harmony, he had Ronaldinho, Deco and others to look up to etc. When Bojan came on, it was expected of him too many things he couldn’t fulfill.

  12. DontPanic
    February 21, 2010

    Thank you for the translation.
    Interesting that he confirmed Bojan is a 9. Most of us assumed he was transfered to the wing (mostly because of his size) but it seems Pep has plans for him as a striker.

    • February 21, 2010

      Yeah, lots of interesting stuff about Bo-Bo. I think we all hope that he can be a nine, and if Pep has faith in that future than we should all be that much more hopeful.

      And if he was brought up too early, it goes a long way towards explaining his performances. Perhaps Rijkaard can be credited for giving him, Messi, and co. their chances and Bojan is just struggling because he did not establish himself enough before Guardiola came in, but I disagree with the idea that subbing-on with five minutes left does nothing for a player. At one stage, perhaps where Jeffren, Thiago, and JDS are right now (and maybe Bojan, in Pep’s mind, is just a cut above this level), a player’s primary job is to train well. Five minutes at the end of the game might not be glorious, but it does not put pressure on you.

      I thought for some stretches, Bojan played better than I’ve seen him all year, and I think that was probably due to some good showings in training.

  13. eklavya
    February 21, 2010

    Nice idea Hector! Very interesting points by Pep!

  14. AJ
    February 21, 2010

    Whats the take on busquets in this game? Didnt see the game.. but very very interesting comments from pep…

    • Jim
      February 21, 2010

      I thought he played quite well. It’s a dfferent sort of game from DM in that he can take chances and it doesn’t cost us so dearly but i thought distribution and effort were good.

    • eklavya
      February 21, 2010

      He’s at his best when he plays with Yaya behind him. The thing is that our best midfield is Xavi-Yaya-Iniesta, so Busi and Yaya don’t play together very often. But when they do, they do fairly well along.
      I think it’s Busi who doesn’t have to worry to much about the defense when The Yaya’s playing, but then again, who does?

  15. Jim
    February 21, 2010

    Yeah, thanks for the info. Really interesting to hear from the man himself. Looking forward to Kxevin’s review to see where he sits on some of the issues we’ve been talking about.

    With regard to some of the points made above, firstly I’m certainly not calling for Ibra to be dropped and I’ve gone out of my way to say i don’t think he’s lazy. He’s busting a gut for us at the moment. However, he is slow and at the moment we’re not able to cope with that. Bojan’s not the quickest but I felt the forward line swapped and moved more effectively yesterday even leaving the result aside.

    Btw, Adal, our problem this year isn’t that teams have parked the bus against us. It’s the opposite. They’ve realised they have a better chance by pressurising us further up the park. Also, it’s a bit easy to say Racing were dreadful although offensively they were poor,giving the ball back too cheaply. I might be wrong but have they not taken 7 out of 9 possible points in their last three games on the road? I felt sorry for the chasing they were having to do in the first half just to get near the ball. To me, the first half was the first time in ages we have used the width of the Nou Camp so effectively.

    They didn’t do a lot wrong for the goals. The first should have been a clearing header but they were put under pressure by Marquez’s beautifully directed early long ball and for a change we had numbers hunting up front. Watch how Iniesta anticipates the long ball and heads off to join Henry and Bojan giving the defenders decisions to make very quickly – helped by Messi’s width keeping the last defender from being able to help out. Henry’s was fortunate I suppose, but we were all over their defence just before it. Marquez’s free kick was world class and Thiago’s was well worked.

    I partly agree with Pep that there is still room for improvement in terms of the simplicity. His name’s Xavi. However, I thought Iniesta was magnificent yesterday and there seemed to be a little bit more pace about the way we moved the ball around.

    so many good points to come out of yesterday, though, it’s churlish to talk of any negatives. We’d have been in trouble if we hadn’t come storming back to form and given the injuries the team did really well. For me, apart from Iniesta who was in a class of his own, big plusses for Maxwell, Marquez, Busi and even Henry and that would have seemed unlikely a few weeks ago. As Pep says time on the park is vital and I’d like to see both Marquez and Henry getting more of it.

    Forward line is still my worry, not for the ordinary games but for the important ones coming up. We’ll probably learn more from the Stuttgart game as they will come at us. Hopefully Messi was saving himself a little yesterday and I’d still like to see us starting with him Ibra and Henry up front, in front of the same midfield and defence.

    • adal
      February 21, 2010

      Without Zlatan in the team, you probably would’ve seen a lot more parked bus in the game. Just because of him, the opposite team changes its tactics. Also, I remember there were quite a few parked bus games in the beginning of the season.

      • Jim
        February 21, 2010

        I know that’s the theory with Ibra but I’m not sure yet whether it has been demonstrated. I think the reason teams changed is that they found it more effective for a while to pressure us. Not sure it was to do with Ibra as I’m not sure I would fear a long ball strategy with him up front. I think the telling thing in the last few games is that we have used the quick long ball a bit more often. That might come to suit Ibra or it might not.

        I actually think Ibra did better against these teams early in the season than he has recently. Again, I’m not hitting on him but if we’re discussing the games he has to be one of the areas we look at. I’m greedy. I do think we’ll find a way to play with him eventually but I’d still like to win trophies this season.

  16. ané
    February 21, 2010

    henry played his best game so far this season

  17. fcbfan
    February 21, 2010

    All right, to chime in on the Bojan Messi comparison, I agree with Pep. Bojan was brought up to the first team too quickly. I dunno if Rijkaard was wrong, more like he didn’t really have a choice. If memory serves right, Messi and Etto’o were injured for months and I guess our other strikers at that time were not effective. We needed a striker from the reserves, and Bojan was called. Did we have better striker prospect from Barca B I dunno. The difference with Bojan and Messi the way they were brought up, Messi spent sometime in Barca B, did Bojan? I don’t think so.

    Thank you Hector. hope you do this translation thing again.

    • Bill
      February 21, 2010

      dont forget we had Henry and Gudjohnsen as strikers when Eto’o was out.

      Rijkaard just gave bojan and dos santos cameos, but he gave them atleast 15 mins a game. They were blossoming under him. I dont think that was a coincidence. You can bring them into the team, instill confidence in them, but be mindful of putting too much responsibilities on their little shoulders, and they will blossom. No coincidence Dos Santos followed Rijkaard to galatasaray.

  18. Bill
    February 21, 2010

    It was heartwarming for me to see the goal celebrations. Everyone was genuinely happy for Henry and Marquez when they scored. It shows how much harmony and support there is in the team, despite the rough times by some players. You could see Messi was uncomfortable after he fed Thiago, and could not run after him, he was favoring his leg a little.

    Iniesta’s and Henry’s understanding in that first goal was sublime. When Iniesta ran to the backpost, Henry simply dragged the defender with him, then handchecked him just enough so he couldn’t really connect with the ball the way he wanted to (watch it again).

    I have always maintained Busquets is better off playing with a defensive midfielder. He gets carried away with the play and forgets his position sometimes. His penchant for holding the ball and attempting close-quarter dribbling encourages non-consequential fouls on our half of the pitch, but same fouls on the other teams half of the pitch are more dangerous.If he is used more effectively as a sub for Iniesta and Xavi, he could be one of the most valuable guys for barcelona, because he can play in all 3 midfield positions, plus we wont need Fabregas for 60+ million.

  19. deepak
    February 21, 2010

    Rijkaard was a great coach for barca. He redefined Barca who were
    struggling for last 4~5 years and failing to get a hold on trophies.
    The mistake he made was lenient to players and players knew it very well and superstars utilized it. I don’t think Guoardiola could have done this little wonder of six trophies without the work done by Rijkaard last 5 years.

    I still believe the mistake he did was leaving Etoo without punishing when he criticized him when he made public that
    he didn’t turn up as sub for last 5 minute against Racing in 2007 and media started questioning on our dressing room harmony and barca started failing. If I remember correctly in 2 weeks time we hammered out as holders from UCL by Liverpool.

    • Vj
      February 21, 2010

      Not exactly hammered, but we did go out back then in the same manner as we did against Sevilla..

      And I agree about the Rijkaard bit.. I don’t remember who but someone made a brilliant quote a while back – “Rijkaard perfected Cruyff’s system, and Guardiola perfected Rijkaard’s”.

      I still believe that loss to Getafe in the CdR ruined that season, we couldn’t get over that loss.. Though I still think about wahat would’ve happened if we had won *that* Clasico.. (If a penalty in the dying seconds had been given)

      • y2k156
        February 21, 2010

        And if Rijkaard had taken Messi to Getafe for return leg after Messi lit up the home tie.

  20. Jnice
    February 21, 2010

    Yaya usually only speaks Spanish, but yesterday Yaya took an interview in Catalan and said his first phrases in Catalan, get ’em!

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amK2b1fCHws

  21. Helge
    February 21, 2010

    Hehe, Regal Barca is humiliating Real Madrid in the Cope del Rey final right now 😀

  22. Vj
    February 21, 2010

    Apparently Xavi and Dani Alves have been included in the squad to face Stuttgart and we are kicking some serious EE ass (68-44 4th Q) in the final of the Basketball equivalent of the Copa del Rey..

  23. BA
    February 21, 2010

    what the hell is ESPN doing? i’m trying to watch the Villareal/Real game that was scheduled to be on, but it’s not on ESPN1 as advertised (Bass Fishing?! who the fuck watches that!?), and the ESPN360 feed is just blackness.

    what a joke.

    • Kari
      February 21, 2010

      What is ESPN doing?

      They’re saving you from the horror (and frustration) that is watching EE, whose arse we just kicked in basketball, 80-61 🙂 , play Villareal, who’ll probably lie down like dogs for them–like Racing did for us.

      • Kari
        February 21, 2010

        …and as I type, it’s 2-0 EE, TB goal in the 18th and Kaka’ pen 3 minutes later.

        Sigh.

      • jordi™
        February 21, 2010

        yea but racing are shit and villarreal can actually do better.For instance how they played when they tied us at home.

  24. BA
    February 21, 2010

    Ronaldo wins a SOFT foul by intentionally running into the guy in front of him about 25 yards out; scores from a free kick

    Higuain falls over in the Villareal box from PURELY accidental contact; penalty converted by Kaka.

    and it’s FC Barcelona thats fostering a refereeing conspiracy.

  25. February 21, 2010

    Well, they’re up 2-0 thanks to a Ronaldo free kick and a Kaka penalty, so it’s just as well you guys aren’t watching it. The penalty was unfortunate but fair.

  26. Hilal
    February 21, 2010

    FFS why do these teams play like their lives depend on it against us and then just lie down and take it against Madrid. Where is the aggressive, intelligent Villareal that played us at home?

    • jordi™
      February 21, 2010

      I asked the same question.Its like they want the scalp of the best team in the world but , for madrid we;ll just roll over show our bellies,

      Senna scores a freekick to make it interesting as i type

  27. Kxevin
    February 21, 2010

    Review is up, everyone. Sorry for the delay. If it’s any consolation, I tore it up on the bike yesterday and today. 😀

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