Guardiola plays down Espanyol draw

January 10th, 2012 - 5:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Jan 10 (IANS) FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola insists that his side’s 1-1 draw away to neighbours Espanyol late night did not mean they were out of the title race in the Spanish Primera Liga.

A late headed goal from Espanyol striker Alvaro Vazquez Sunday saw Barcelona drop five points behind title rivals Real Madrid and Barca now need Madrid to drop points against other sides in order to win a fourth successive title.

However, Guardiola believes his side was still in the race for the title and wasn’t surprised by the result in a game he had always claimed was going to be one of the toughest of the campaign.

“The game went as we expected against an excellent side. Espanyol are a very intense team and we had problems with them. I can’t complain about my side,” said Guardiola Monday.

“The league has not got away from us, there is still a long way to go and it is a long season,” he insisted.

“The only objective that we have is to look at our own form and forget everyone else. We have to continue playing well and to improve on the things that we have not done so well,” he commented in Monday’s edition of El Mundo Deportivo sports paper.

Barcelona would have taken all 3 points had referee Turienzo Alvarez given a clear penalty in their favor after Espanyol defender Raul Rodriguez clearly handled Pedro Rodriguez’s goalbound shot in injury time.

However, the referee waved play on after Barca’s appeals and Guardiola was philosophical about the decision.

“We have to get over it, there is no option other than that in football. A team like us can’t stop and think about that, what we have to do is improve the things we didn’t do well,” he said

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