Pep Guardiola has played down his Barcelona side’s strength and his personal success as Coach ahead of their UEFA Super Cup tie with Porto, as both Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique are set to miss the game.
Held in Monaco, the annual meeting between last season’s Champions League and Europa League winners holds historic significance for Barcelona this year, as it could see Guardiola become the most successful Coach in their history should his team win the trophy.
However, it comes without Puyol and Pique in the team. Puyol is struggling for fitness having undergone a knee operation this summer and then returning to pre-season on a different training regime, whilst Pique was ruled out for three weeks after suffering a muscle strain in training this week.
Their absence forces Guardiola to consider alternative options in the form of Javier Mascherano, Eric Abidal and Sergio Busqeuts, whilst it has perhaps also prompted the Coach’s most recent comments to AS:
The game could see Guardiola beat Johan Cruyff’s record of 11 titles, but the Coach is not looking beyond his opposition at this stage: “We’re not counting the titles we win. When you retire you look at what you’ve achieved, but I do not think I have won something as much as the work of everyone here has won something.
“[Porto] are a team that look very strong. When you take possession, they do not quit. They play very good football, with great sense of play. You can see reflected how they play elements of how we like to play.
“They change coaches, players and still win. I would have many of the Porto players in my team, but I am more than satisfied with mine, I could not ask any more of my leaders. It would be impolite.”