Barcelona vs Deportivo La Coruna preview - Guardiola offers Barca assurance



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Posted Sunday, May 15, 2011 by PA

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has reassured the teams battling against relegation at the bottom of the Primera Division that his side will set out to win their remaining games, starting at home to Deportivo La Coruna.

Barca were confirmed as champions of Spain for the third season running after drawing 1-1 at Levante on Wednesday and with a Champions League final date against Manchester United at Wembley looming large at the end of the month, Guardiola is likely to rest some of his players in the two remaining league fixtures.

"Whichever players we pick, we will set out to win," he said.

"We are taking these games seriously, so Osasuna, Zaragoza and Getafe (all struggling at the wrong end of the table) can relax because we will be going out there to compete."

Meanwhile, Guardiola says he believes midfielder Sergio Busquets, who is at the centre of a racism storm after an alleged insult aimed at Real Madrid's Marcelo in the recent Champions League semi-final first leg meeting between the two rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu, is innocent.

"I won't tell you what he told me, but I have known him for a long time and I believe him," the Barca boss said.

And he revealed that he will have no qualms about selecting the midfielder for the Champions League final.

"If I believe him, which I do, he will play in the final," he said.

Barca recently faced Madrid in four games over 18 days in the Primera Division, Copa del Rey and Champions League, a spell which Guardiola has admitted was a mentally tiring experience for him personally.

"I don't want to talk any more about Madrid," he said.

"We have already spoken lots about Madrid and we will speak again before the Supercopa."

That will see Barca (league champions) and Madrid (Copa del Rey winners) meet again before next season.

In the meantime, however, Barca have been celebrating their league triumph.

Half-a-million Catalans took to the streets to celebrate as Barca paraded through town in an open-top bus yesterday, before the party switched to the Nou Camp - where 90,000 fans were waiting to greet their heroes.

Captain Carles Puyol has recently been out for around three months and is set to sit out against Deportivo, but Bojan Krkic, Adriano and Maxwell could return from injury.

Deportivo boosted their hopes of Primera Division survival with a 2-1 win at home to Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday night, when the Galicians fought back from an early goal to claim all three points and move up to 16th place, three points clear of the relegation zone.

The victory came about largely thanks to the performance of veteran playmaker Juan Carlos Valeron, who has had few opportunities this season.

"Now is not the time talk about that," he said.

"We will battle hard to stay up and at the end of the season we can reflect."

Meanwhile, coach Miguel Angel Lotina knows survival is in the team's hands.

"The future is ours," he said.



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