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Page last updated at 22:07 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 23:07 UK

Guardiola praises Barca bravery


We controlled the game - Guardiola

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola said the Champions League victory over Manchester United was down to hard work and bravery rather than flair.

"If you attack and are daring you have more chances of winning," said Guardiola, who also won the trophy as a Barcelona player in 1992.

"We have not been cowards, never in the match. There's nothing more dangerous than not taking risks.

"We have worked many, many hours this season and this is our payment."

Guardiola, who has won an historic Spanish league and cup as well as the Champions League in his first season in charge, paid tribute to Lionel Messi, scorer of the second goal against United.

"Messi went back into midfield because we wanted to be superior in possession," Guardiola said.

"Without the ball we are a disastrous team, a horrible team, so we need the ball.

"We are not the best team in history but we have played the best season in history to win the three titles."

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team" of the early 1990s laid the foundations for the club's triumph.

But Laporta also lavished praise on Guardiola, saying the former Spain midfielder, 38, had taken that base and fashioned it into something even more special.

Phil McNulty

Like Guardiola, Cruyff was a former Barca player who returned to coach the famous Catalan side. The Dutchman led them to one European Cup victory and four straight Spanish league titles with a thrilling brand of attacking football.

Guardiola, the midfield linchpin of that side, has now carried off the first ever "treble" for a Spanish club.

"Pep and the players have played the best season in the history of Barca and they have demonstrated that they are the best team in history of Barca," said Laporta.

"Pep in one year has really created a genius team. It has roots in Cruyff's philosophy but at the same time he himself has created something."

Barcelona striker Thierry Henry agreed his side's 2-0 defeat of United was down to doggedness as well as style.

"Apart from the way we play it is also down to the way we fought all season," said the former Arsenal star.

"In the first 10 minutes we were kind of lucky and playing against a United side who are difficult to beat. But we fight and we never give up."

I want to thank the fans and hope they enjoy the moment. The last few years haven't been great. They have fought and suffered the same as we have

Barca skipper Carles Puyol

Henry, who lost to Barca in the 2006 final when playing for Arsenal, added: "I struggle to describe what we have achieved this year. No team has ever done this treble in Spain, it's something amazing.

"You always remember winners, that's the difference. You can play good football, pass the ball well but unless you win silverware sometimes it doesn't count."

On his final defeat with the Gunners, Henry added: "I will always have disappointments from Arsenal because they are in my heart and in my blood."

Barca captain Carles Puyol said: "I want to thank the fans and hope they enjoy the moment. The last few years haven't been great. They have fought and suffered the same as we have."

Midfielder Andres Iniesta, whose 93rd-minute strike against Chelsea in the second leg of the semi-final sent Barca through to the final, said: "We are speechless. It is the perfect finish to a spectacular season.


Barca fans celebrate Champions League win

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see also
Barca were better side - Ferguson
28 May 09 |  Man Utd
Barcelona 2-0 Man Utd
27 May 09 |  Europe
Champions League photos
27 May 09 |  Europe
The men who make Barca beautiful
26 May 09 |  Europe

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