Pep Guardiola believes Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg clash against Chelsea at the Camp Nou will be a defining moment in Barcelona’s season.
Barca suffered a rare ‘El Clasico’ defeat at the hands of Real Madrid on Saturday night as Los Blancos moved closer to a 32nd Primera Liga title.
Sami Khedira had put Madrid ahead before substitute Alexis Sanchez levelled for Barca.
But Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed his 54th goal of the season to give Real their first league win over Barcelona in four years and, barring a major stumble, ensured the title will return to the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time since 2008.
After the game Guardiola effectively conceded the Primera Division title to their bitter rivals and insists his side will now concentrate their efforts on trying to overturn the 1-0 deficit from the first leg at Stamford Bridge as they look to hang on to their European crown.
He told www.sport.es: “We will see on Tuesday whether we will pass this test, but I think (the players) will lift themselves up and look at the manner of how things will go against Chelsea.
“What happens against Chelsea will mark the rest of our season. Although the guys have not had long to recover, they have had setbacks like this before and risen to the challenge.”
As was the case in the defeat to Chelsea, Barcelona failed to take a number of opportunities which came their way against Real.
“I have seen the players’ impotence,” he admitted.
“We have opened up the field, we had opportunities…I think we had more chances than in other matches against Madrid. (But) these guys have four years of playing every competition possible and sometimes lack a little freshness. That can happen, especially bearing in mind the opposition.
“The effectiveness (in front of goal) has made the difference in these two games (against Real and Chelsea). But that’s part of the game,” Guardiola added.
Asked how he would spend his Sunday, Guardiola responded: “I will wake up relaxed, try to eat a bit and I will talk with my colleagues to prepare for the next game, which is now the important thing. Chelsea rested eight players (against Arsenal on Saturday), we did not.”