Guardiola prepares for last league game as Barca coach

May 11th, 2012 - 8:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, May 11 (IANS) Pep Guardiola will sit in the FC Barcelona dugout for the last time in a Spanish Primera Liga match when his side travel to play Betis Saturday night.

The match is one of just two on the last weekend of the season in Spain in which neither side has anything to play for. Barcelona are assured of finishing second behind Real Madrid, while Betis can celebrate after a season which has seen them comfortably avoid relegation on their return to the Spanish top flight.

Guardiola has already said that he was using the last games of the season to prepare for the final of the Copa del Rey in which his side will take on Athletic Club Bilbao May 25th, Xinhua reported.

“It will be two weeks to the next game (the final) and Athletic are a side used to dominating games, and they are going to be a tough rival. They will be disappointed for losing the Europa League when we play them,” he said

He would have played goalkeeper Jose Pinto in the game, but the keeper, who will play in the cup final was unable to train Friday because of an ankle problem.

“He is a lot better than he was a few days ago and there is no reason why he will not be fit for the Cup final,” said Guardiola, who confirmed that first choice keeper Victor Valdes would play against Betis.

Meanwhile Carlos Puyol is also out of action and preparing for a knee operation which will keep him out of the European Championships and while David Villa has almost recovered from his broken leg, he will not be fit enough to take part Saturday.

Guardiola said he hoped Villa would be able to play in the Cup final, but added that it was down to Spain coach Vicente del Bosque to decide whether or not the striker would go to the European Championships.

Winger Alexis Sanchez also trained on his own as a result of a muscle problem and Guardiola included B-team players, Christian Tello, Martin Montoya and central defender Marc Bartra in his pre-match session.

Meanwhile Guardiola used his pre-game press conference to insist his relation with assistant coach Tito Vilanova, who will succeed him in the role, was strong and that he would not be taking any jobs next season in order to rest after four draining seasons as Barca coach.

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