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Nov, 1, 2011

Guardiola wary ahead of landmark

Pep Guardiola is braced for a stringent test against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday as the Spaniard gears up for his 200th game in charge of Barcelona.

Champions League holders Barcelona are currently second in Group H, level on points with leaders AC Milan, and they travel to Viktoria Plzen aware that victory will seal their place in the last 16.

Guardiola, though, is expecting a tough match against the Czech side, despite having claimed a 2-0 victory in their home meeting last month.

He said: "We have always found things harder in Europe than anywhere else and we have to take this chance. Qualifying is the main objective, and the sooner you have these things sorted, the better.

"The teams are stronger in Europe, they're more physical, more powerful and I suspect Tuesday will be no exception. We have always struggled against teams from the north.

"This game will be one more test of what we need to do to move onward, to play better, more consistently, and to become a better and better team."

Tuesday's game marks Guardiola's 200th as Barca manager. Of this landmark, he said: "I am proud to have been here so long. I am proud to have trained these players, from the first to the last. They have made me better as a manager. When you win 12 titles out of 15, it's because you haven't lost many games.

"While you're still here, it's not a good idea to look back at such a long process. There are times things went wrong and they were difficult. Of course I'm proud to have been here so long, to have had some good games and to have made the people happy. When I'm not here anymore there will be more time to think about what has happened."

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