Liga - Guardiola plays down Clasico importance

Mon, 05 Dec 22:29:00 2011

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has played down this weekend's Clasico at Real Madrid by saying a European Union summit meeting on Friday and moves to save the Euro were much more significant.

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The Champions League holders host Belarusian minnows BATE Borisov in their final Group H match on Tuesday with first place and qualification to the last 16 already assured.

On the horizon is Saturday's top-of-the-table La Liga clash at the Bernabeu.

Barca will be under pressure to ensure Real do not increase their three-point lead with a game in hand, but Guardiola was coy when asked about the Clasico's significance in the title race.

"What's more important is that on the ninth of December (Germany chancellor Angela) Merkel and (France president Nicolas) Sarkozy save the Euro," Guardiola said.

"That's what is important this week, not the derby.

"More important than the tactics will be our mentality going into the match. Against a rival as strong as Madrid a win strengthens you, but there is still a long way to go in the league.

"If it was a knockout situation it would be more important, but there is still a long way to go."

Barcelona also have an eye on next week's Club World Cup in Japan, and Guardiola will look to squad players and his youth ranks to play against BATE, who need a surprise win to have a chance of qualifying for the Europa League.

"I want them to be bold, not to play under pressure, to show off all their talent and not be afraid of anything," he added.

"They just have to play and enjoy it."

European leaders are under pressure to come up with a credible plan to lead the region out of its debt crisis at the European Union summit meeting on Friday.

Clasico

Reuters

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