Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola resisted the temptation to bask in Saturday’s electrifying 3-1 ‘Clasico’ victory over Real Madrid after arriving in Japan for the Club World Cup.
The European kings overcame Real at the Bernabeu at the weekend to leapfrog their bitter rivals at the top of La Liga, albeit having played a game more.
But Guardiola insisted Barca were already focusing on a different threat in the Far East and the task of winning their second Club World Cup in two years. “Real Madrid were the team of the 20th century and it is true we have enjoyed some success over them recently,” Guardiola said after his eighth win in 12 ‘Clasicos’ since taking over in 2008.
“We have just have to get the players ready for this tournament now. We are here to win the Club World Cup. I want the players to relax and get over their fatigue properly.”
Barca arrived in Japan late on Sunday. Guardiola admitted he knew little of Asian champions Al Sadd, who could opt for damage limitation when they face the Spanish title holders in Thursday's semi-final.
Brazil’s Santos will be expected to overpower Japanese champions Kashiwa Reysol in Wednesday’s first semi-final to set up a good final on Dec. 18.