Soccer post! Pep speaks + Real Madrid slumps + United fans yell at Ferguson

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola: I left Barcelona for personal reasons



Pep Guardiola has disputed reports that he left Barcelona because he felt he could no longer lift the club’s players.

“Maybe I did not explain myself well,” Guardiola told Mundo Deportivo. “It was a purely personal matter. I felt the moment had come."

Guardiola, who led Bayern Munich to the quickest Bundesliga title in history on Tuesday with a 3-1 win against Hertha Berlin, left the Camp Nou in 2012 after winning 14 trophies in four seasons.

He had been reported as saying that he was no longer able to reach his team, and that realisation had convinced him to move on.

“They are responsible for all the successes we achieved, just like those of Bayern," he said. "Barca’s players motivate themselves. I did not teach Xavi [Hernandez] or [Andres] Iniesta to play.

“We coaches are there to give them a hand, but they have played that way for 20 years. Coaches do not make players play well. They played well enough without me.”

After falling short in La Liga and the Champions League during Guardiola’s final season at the Camp Nou, Barca won the domestic title with a record 100 points under successor Tito Vilanova the following year, even though he was absent for long spells through illness.

Guardiola has played down his part in that achievement, preferring instead to focus on the good work done by Vilanova.

“I would give myself a certain part of that, but that is a personal question,” Guardiola said. “With me they would not have had the success they had with Tito Vilanova.”


La Liga review: Real Madrid lose, Barcelona & Atletico Madrid win



Real Madrid's title challenge unravelled on Wednesday night as they suffered back-to-back defeats with a 2-1 loss at Sevilla.

Fresh from their clasico beating by Barcelona, Carlo Ancelotti's men still held the upper hand in the title race ahead of this game.

But another loss, coupled with wins elsewhere for Barca and Atletico Madrid, means they are now three points off the pace with their destiny out of their hands.

Goals from Neymar and Lionel Messi meant Barcelona kept the pressure on title rivals Atletico and Real Madrid with a comfortable 3-0 win over Celta Vigo but the evening turned sour when Victor Valdes was carried off with a serious knee injury that could end his Barca career and rule him out of the World Cup.

The goalkeeper struggled to hold on to a free-kick from Fabian Orellana midway through the first half and landed on his right knee as he gathered the ball, and was seen crying as he was taken off the pitch, replaced by Sergio Pinto.

It could be Valdes' last appearance for the club, with the player set to depart Barcelona in the summer when his contract runs out.

Diego Costa's solitary goal lifted Atletico Madrid back to the top of the Primera Division standings as they claimed a 1-0 win over Granada.

Costa headed Jose Sosa's cross past Granada keeper Roberto to ensure Atletico moved one point clear of Barcelona, who slipped to second, and three clear of capital city rivals Real Madrid.

A late penalty from Joaquin Larrivey condemned Osasuna to a fifth straight defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Rayo Vallecano, who gave themselves a cushion to the relegation zone in a 1-0 win.

A drab match with little quality on display seemed destined to finish goalless until Abella Damia felled Jose Fernandez in the area and Larrivey stepped up to place his spot-kick in the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

The result will see Rayo climb several places in the congested lower reaches of the table, while Osasuna hover just above the drop zone, knowing they will drop into it if either Getafe or Real Valladolid can pick up a result on Thuesday.


United fans yell at Alex Ferguson



Frustrated Manchester United supporters took their anger out on Sir Alex Ferguson after Tuesday's 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.

After the match, angry fans yelled expletives at the former United manager as well as David Moyes, his handpicked successor, according to multiple reports.

Stadium stewards also had to be deployed to prevent supporters from tearing down a banner honouring Moyes as "The Chosen One."

Ferguson retired last season and chose Moyes to take over the club that he led to 13 Premier League titles in 26 season.


United are currently in seventh with 51 points, and an emphatic defeat to their cross-town rivals -- their 10th league loss of the season -- was apparently too much for some fans to take.

Tuesday's defeat ensured United will finish with their lowest point total of the Premier League era.

Stewards had to pull one fan away from Moyes' seat in the dug-out, according to The Telegraph.

Club officials have publicly stood by Moyes, though sources told ESPN FC last week that key Manchester United boardroom figures have considered the possibility of sacking Moyes for the first time.

Moyes took the blame for Tuesday's loss.

"I take responsibility," Moyes said. "I have to be the one who plays them, picks them and that is what it is. I don’t think tonight was in any way [down to] a lack of effort or lack of commitment from the players, in fact I thought they were fully there but in some areas we didn’t come up to scratch."


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