Pep Guardiola: Barcelona have taken a big step towards the title

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Posted Sunday, April 24, 2011 by YAHOO Sport

Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola was pleased after his team took a significant step towards retaining their Primera Division crown with a 2-0 victory at home to Osasuna.

"We know that Madrid are not going to fail again so we have to win two games and draw the other to be champions. We have taken a big step towards the title," he said in the post-game press conference.

"We played against a team coached by Mendilibar, which is always very difficult. The players have responded well, as I expected.

Guardiola looked ahead to Wednesday's Champions League semifinal first-leg tie against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu and admitted that his players are not in the greatest of shapes.

"We are not in the best of conditions to play in the Bernabeu but we are fine emotionally. Today we were looking for the three points. In the Bernabeu we will have to play very seriously and win the game."

"We cannot wait to play the semifinal. We accept Real Madrid's role as favorites as they have come on strong in recent weeks. We want to change all that. I say that Madrid are favourites because everyone else is saying so. We have accepted the challenge"

The mind games continued with the Barcelona coach making a jibe in reference to Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho's critical comments of the officials after last Saturday's 1-1 draw the Clasico.

"I am convinced that Mourinho will be very happy if there is a Portuguese referee. To play the semi-final we will need the right mentality and tactics. The last two semi-finals we have played have been very hard fought."

"We have seen Madrid's strength with Higuain, Benzema and Kaka. Tomorrow we will see how all our players are and then decide [on our team]."

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