Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has declared that he will not be pushing any panic buttons in the wake of his side’s 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League Last-16 tie.
After falling behind to a first-half David Villa goal, the Gunners turned the tie on its head with a quick-fire double from Robin Van-Persie and Andrei Arshavin.
Guardiola also drew comparisons with the fixture from last season: “This game was very similar to the one last year”, he said. “I think we created more chances this time, but they position themselves well and are very good on the counter attack. They are very quick at using space.”
According to statistics, the visitors had 63% of the possession and failed to convert their dominance into more goals. Midfielder Xavi also chose to reflect on the devastating effect of Arsenal’s counter-attacking performance. He said: “Those counter attacks do a lot of damage. We played good football. They were very effective in front of goal and we weren’t. You pay for that in Europe”.
After praising the opponents, the Spaniard conveyed the atmosphere in the dressing room after the game and was clear on who he thought should have won: “If you watch the game you’ll realise it was a totally unfair defeat”, he said. “We were much better than Arsenal. There are 90 minutes left, but it’s a shame we didn’t get a result”.
Full-back Dani Alves was quick to move on and look towards the return leg: “We have to be positive. There is still the second game to play”, He said.
He added: “We’re fine. There is no need for alarm bells. This is Europe and it’s hard to win games.”
The return leg at the Camp Nou is due to be played on the 8th of March with football fans once again salivating at the prospect of another pulsating expression of the beautiful game.