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By ESPN Staff
Mar 19, 2011

Pep delighted with response

Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola praised the reaction of his players after a difficult week as they beat Getafe 2-1.

The club was rocked earlier in the week by the news that left-back Eric Abidal had a tumour on his liver. The Frenchman successfully underwent surgery on Thursday to remove the tumour, but Guardiola was concerned by how his players would perform following the concerning distraction.

"It has been a tough week for everyone," Guardiola said. "You never know how the players react, but they were fantastic and I'm really happy with the performance."

Barcelona won 2-1 thanks to goals from Dani Alves and Bojan Krkic, but David Villa missed several good chances to put the Catalans out of reach before Manu del Moral's late strike gave Getafe brief hope.

Barcelona and Getafe paid tribute to Abidal as they came out with T-shirts dedicated to the France full-back, while the home fans cheered the defender's name in the 22nd minute - he wears the number 22 - of each half.

Guardiola said the French player is recovering well.

"The surgery went well and the doctors are happy," Guardiola said. "He is recovering well and he is with his family - we hope he can come and visit us at our training ground in about ten days."

Alves opened the scoring with a wonderful volley after 16 minutes and Guardiola hopes the full-back will soon sign a new deal to remain at the Nou Camp.

"It was an amazing goal by Dani and he is a very important player for us," Guardiola said. "He wants to stay and I am sure it will be sorted out."

Guardiola also defended David Villa following another lucklustre performance from the Spain striker.

"The players don't miss on purpose," he said. "My players give everything and they want to score - I am very happy with how we played."

While speaking at the press conference, Guardiola watched title rivals Real Madrid go 2-0 up before half-time in the league's late match at Atletico.

"They are very strong and the league will go all the way until the end of the season," Guardiola said.

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