Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Barcelona looks to keep winning habit in Super Cup

Barcelona looks to keep winning habit in Super Cup

After dominating at home and in Europe last season, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is hoping to keep his team in the habit of winning when it plays Shakhtar Donetsk on Friday in the European Super Cup.
Guardiola led Barcelona to victory in the Champions League, the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey, and treating Europe's football fans to games full of spectacular goals and stunning skill.
"Of course we will field a strong team (on Friday). Victory is never guaranteed," Guardiola said through a translator Thursday. "We have to be humble. I am very careful about making any predictions. We're talking about UEFA (Cup) champions here."
Guardiola earned his first piece of silverware this season when Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao to win the Spanish Supercup on Sunday. He wants the momentum to build just days before the league campaign starts.
"We want to continue our way of playing, Guardiola said. "The players are the ones who lead the way."
Barcelona played a full-strength team in the Spanish Supercup, giving Guardiola an early glimpse of Zlatan Ibrahimovic alongside striker Lionel Messi.
With Samuel Eto'o gone, the pressure is on Ibrahimovic to produce goals.
Now recovered from a left hand injury that required surgery, Ibrahimovic set up one of Messi's goals Sunday in a 3-0 win over Atheltic Bilbao that gave Barcelona a 5-1 aggregate win.
Friday's game against Shakhtar at Stade Louis II gives Guardiola another chance to see Messi and Ibrahimovic in tandem before the opening league matches against Sporting Gijon on Monday.
Shakhtar, meanwhile, has already started its domestic season and is in second place, unbeaten after four matches.
Dani Alves expects Barcelona's players to show Shakhtar the respect they deserve.
"They are intelligent enough to know that if you don't have the right mindset for a final, you are bound to have some surprises," Alves said, adding that he was looking forward to taking another peek at Ibrahimovic.
"I think he is a great footballer," Alves said. "He is different from (Eto'o) and will contribute in his own way."
While Guardiola guided Barcelona to the treble, Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu's Shakhtar team recovered from being knocked out the group stage of the Champions League by Barcelona on the way to the UEFA Cup title.
Shakhtar beat Tottenham, CSKA Moscow, Marseille, Dynamo Kiev and, in the final, Werder Bremen to clinch Ukraine's first European trophy as an independent nation.
Lucescu and Guardiola are friends, and the Romanian loaned his apartment to the Barcelona coach when he played for Brescia eight years ago. On the field, they also have many things in common.
"Of course, Barcelona have something extra," Lucescu said. "They come from a stronger league with players of class. But we also have good players, and they will show it tomorrow."


Updated : 2021-10-22 12:14 GMT+08:00