Barcelona's Pep Guardiola 'very happy' as changed system paid off in victory over Villarreal

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Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2011 by YAHOO Sport

Barcelona's Pep Guardiola 'very happy' as changed system paid off in victory over Villarreal

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is delighted with his team's comprehensive defeat of Villarreal in its opening game of the Primera Division campaign on Monday evening.

A Lionel Messi brace and debut league goals from Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez combined with a Thiago Alcantara strike saw the defending Spanish champions register a 5-0 win at Camp Nou.

The Catalan giants faced defensive problems heading into the match with first choice center-backs Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol out injured and right-back Daniel Alves suspended.

Guardiola changed his usual 4-3-3 formation to a 3-4-3 system at the start with Javier Mascherano, Sergio Busquets and Eric Abidal as the three men at the back. The make-shift system eventually paid off, making the coach a happy man.

"We only had one real defender [Abidal] and the idea was that we would play the ball around with a lot of players in the center of the pitch," Guardiola is quoted as saying by PA after the match.

"Following the Super Cups [two-legs against Real Madrid that ended in a 5-4 aggregate victory] this was a tough game to start the season and we are very happy. If we had all the players available then maybe I wouldn't have changed the system."

Barcelona's arch-rivals Madrid also began the new league season with a convincing victory as it defeated Real Zaragoza 6-0 away from home on Sunday evening, Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick.

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