Guardiola resists temptation to praise Leo Messi

19:48, March 22, 2010      

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FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola resisted the temptation to single striker Leo Messi out for praise after the little Argentinean produced another match winning performance in Zaragoza on Sunday night.

Messi scored his second hat-trick in a week and then forced the penalty that led to Zlatan Ibrahimovich securing the points in injury time as Barcelona won 4-2 to remain level on points with Real Madrid at the top of the BBVA Primera Liga table.

His performance was even more incredible given that 24 hours earlier Messi had been a doubt because he was suffering from a mouth infection.

"I asked him if he could and he said he would be able to play all game, but you have to be careful with things like that because they can provoke injuries," explained Guardiola in sports paper AS on Monday.

"It was a demanding game, the pitch was slow and Zaragoza made us work hard," said the Barca coach about the game. However, he was unwilling to single Messi out for special praise.

"It will be the press that chooses the adjectives to describe his performance. But we got a good result," he added.

Guardiola admitted that maybe his side would be less effective without Messi, but highlighted the unity in the Barcelona squad.

"With the team spirit we have got, maybe we would not be so brilliant, but we would respond as a squad," he said, before giving a possible reason for the difference in Messi's form for club and country. "The secret is in him. He is happy and comfortable here and that is the success," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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