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Guardiola stays true to word in Barcelona triumph

AS promised, Pep Guardiola stayed true to his unflinching word as Barcelona used its panache to beat Manchester United 2-0 in the Champions League final.

The 38-year-old rookie coach promised flair and bravado for yesterday's final, and his team delivered at Stadio Olimpico.

"If you're brave, if you press ahead, that's the best chance," Guardiola said. "There's nothing riskier than not to risk."

Only the sixth man to win Europe's top competition as a player (1992) and coach, he said the Spanish champions would attack from the opening whistle.

They never relented.

"We attacked, we defended and we won," said Guardiola. "We wanted to be able to say that we played and were not cowards and we made it."

Samuel Eto'o's 10th-minute goal set the Catalans on their way and, by the time Lionel Messi sealed it with a 70th-minute header, there seemed little doubt as Barcelona's mix of slick passing born of possession - it held the advantage - shut out the defending champion.

"We had chances, they have chances, and at the end we have control of the game and this is good for us," Guardiola said. "Because without the ball we are a horrible team, a disaster team. And we got it."

Still, Guardiola pranced along the sidelines to the very end, enjoying every moment of the club's historic win. It joined United, Ajax, Celtic and PSV Eindhoven as the only clubs to achieve the treble - the Champions League and domestic league and cup.

Not bad for a 38-year-old coach in his debut season.

"I think ... I don't know ... that I'm happy," he said.

Barcelona won the Spanish league with a record points haul and added a record 25th Copa del Rey title. It had gone two seasons without silverware before Guardiola replaced Frank Rijkaard at the end of last season.

"It's a great achievement, first year as a coach," United counterpart Alex Ferguson said. "Well done."

United was chasing its fourth European Cup title, and fourth trophy this season after winning the Premier League, FIFA Club World Cup and League Cup.

That made the victory even more special.

"United's stadium is called the 'Theater of Dreams,' so to beat them gives more prestige," Guardiola said.

He had one last request for Barcelona fans in the Italian capital as he expected them to celebrate into the night - also show some class.

"Please do not break any windows or traffic lights," he said.


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