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Champions League Group F

Pep's building blocks

Pako Ayestaran says that Barcelona's success this season can be traced back to Pep Guardiola.

Last Updated: 16/01/13 at 17:19

Tito Vilanova may have taken Barcelona to a new level but Pako Ayestaran says he has been able to do that because of Pep Guardiola.

At the half ways stage of the season, Barcelona have amassed an incredible 55 points out of a possible 57 and are 11 points ahead of second placed Atletico Madrid and 18 points ahead of reigning champions and arch rivals Real Madrid in third.

Barcelona's superb start to the season has allowed Vilanova to step out of the shadow of Pep Guardiola, however Ayestaran told Revista that he has only been able to do so because of the ethos that Guardiola brought to the club.

"The style of Barcelona has not changed too much, especially since Puyol and Piqué came back in the team," explained Pako on Revista

"Sometimes I think that the memories are too short in football and people are undervaluing the impact that Guardiola had on the team.

"People have said not everything is about Guardiola and I agree, but I know as well that nothing would have happened without Pep Guardiola. He was the one who set the standards and brought the values into the team. He made them realise how important it was to be respectful to your team mates and to set the right values.

"I think things would not have happened without him."

"I also think that Tito has benefited from the bad performance of some players. After two or three years of success all the egos in the squad and in the club start turning up. Even in 2010 and in 2011 I had doubts how Piqué was playing, suddenly in the last month of that season he looked more focussed and he played magnificently. I think sometimes the players realise that they have an incredible opportunity to carry on winning and at Barcelona they have taken that opportunity.

"Sometimes you do need a different voice, not only that but to be a little loose. The standards that were set by Guardiola were too demanding - he said that less than 100% was not allowed - that is so difficulty to keep that level up. Tito has brought in a relaxing environment into the team."

Pep's future

Tito has recently returned from New York where he received treatment for his on-going battle against cancer. He also met up with Guardiola and Guillem Balague says that Guardiola is close to coming back to football.

"I am sure Tito asked him what he wanted to do next and interestingly he wants a club now - as soon as possible.

"There are only two clubs where that is a possibility - take control of a club now to prepare for next season - that is Chelsea where he has not decided yet and Bayern Munich and conversations have advanced so much that they are saying it is 90% agreed.

"He has not signed but it is very advanced, it is one of the leagues he would like to join - Bayern Munich think they could get their man."

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riting a minute by minute account on Berbatov would be like chronicling the days of the guy punished for sloth in the movie Se7en. Day 4 - lay in bed, did nothing - 15th minute, stood there did nothing .

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hen players in their 30s leave Real Madrid, it's usually to Bolton Wanderers. I miss those days.

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