July 28, 2014
Guardiola nostalgic for playing days before 'Clasico'
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola would rather be out on the pitch again than suffering through 'Clasico' games against Real Madrid from the bench, the former midfielder said on Friday.
Barça host their bitter rivals at the Nou Camp on Saturday (1800 GMT) in a match that could prove decisive in the La Liga title race with Real four points clear at the top with five games left.
Guardiola, who ran Barça's midfield in the 1990s much in the same way Xavi does now, has an impressive record in 'Clasicos' as a coach, leading the current Spanish and European champions to nine wins, four draws and only a single defeat in all competitions since taking charge in 2008.
However, he said he had not enjoyed the last few times the two sides had met, when players from both sides clashed, Real coach Jose Mourinho jabbed a finger into the eye of Guardiola's assistant Tito Vilanova during a mass brawl and there were allegations of refereeing bias, diving and racism.
"It's nicer to play a 'Clasico' than experience it from the bench as you have more influence," Guardiola told a news conference.
"I don't have very good memories of the last few Barca-Madrid games, in victory or defeat, and I did not enjoy them," added the 41-year-old.
"A lot of things happened that I did not understand but the past is the past and tomorrow a lot of people will be watching us."