Soccer-Guardiola 'privileged' to coach Barca's invincibles

LONDON Sun May 29, 2011 12:25am BST

LONDON May 28 (Reuters) - Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, back celebrating at Wembley almost two decades after his first taste of European Cup success, said he felt privileged to coach matchwinners Lionel Messi and Xavi.

Guardiola was part of the team that helped Barcelona win the European Cup for the first time at the old Wembley in 1992.

On Saturday he returned to mastermind a 3-1 triumph over Manchester United that earned him his second Champions League as coach, though he himself refused to take much of the credit.

"I feel privileged to have these players," Guardiola said after goals from Pedro, Messi and David Villa gave the Catalans a second Champions League final win over United in three seasons.

"I don't feel like the boss of them. So many people have worked so hard to achieve this and I congratulate everyone."

Guardiola confirmed that he would stay on as coach for at least one more season, but as ever refused to commit himself any further.

While praising man-of-the-match Messi, who he described as "unique, a one-off", Guardiola said the most satisfying part of the night was seeing how much has team had improved from two years ago in Rome, when they beat United 2-0.

"When I looked again at how we'd played in Rome I wasn't that impressed," the perfectionist Guardiola said.

"But the match served its purpose. We trained harder and tonight we had more chances and used them better."

Looking to the future, Guardiola said he would look within himself to find motivation to continue.

"The challenge has to come from inside myself," Guardiola said. "I'm so happy to be here as a coach of these guys.

"I intend to continue one more year and we'll see. When the passion of the night has gone I'll go home, rest a bit and come back."

Guardiola's Barcelona were praised by Ferguson as the best side he had come up against in his 25 years of management.

Asked how he would rate his own side against the great teams of the past, Guardiola was his usual circumspect self.

"It's impossible to say as I didn't see the Madrid of Di Stefano, the Santos of Pele or the Ajax of Cruyff," he said.

"I would just like people to remember us a team that are enjoyable to watch."

(Editing by Alastair Himmer. To comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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