“We need to dominate for 90 minutes” to stand a chance against Lyon, says Giráldez

Jonatan Giráldez was accompanied by Aitana Bonmatí and Caroline Graham Hansen on Friday, as the departing Barcelona boss carried out his pre-match media duties ahead of the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Champions League Final at San Mámes.

The Blaugrana will make their fourth appearance in the final since 2018/19 on Saturday, having held the prestigious trophy aloft twice in that time – and Giráldez will be keen to see his side retain their title against the most successful team in the tournament’s history.

Both of Barcelona’s final defeats in the past five years have come at the hands of Olympique Lyonnais, and Giráldez made clear that he envisages “a game where we need to dominate for ninety minutes.”

“If you win, you’re the best. If you don’t win, it’s not the same – we play football to win, and if we’re at Barca, it’s for winning trophies. The last three seasons have been fantastic, it’s very difficult to improve everything we’ve done up until now,” he added as he emphasised his desire to end his Barcelona tenure with another UEFA Women’s Champions League title.

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The Spaniard will take charge at Washington Spirit in the NWSL after the conclusion of the 2023/24 season, and reflecting on his premiership in Catalunya, Giráldez admitted that “there is this emotional aspect always present, because being at the forefront of Barca is very special for me.”

When Barcelona met Lyon in the 2021/22 final in Turin, three early goals from the French side proved too big a mountain for the Blaugrana to overcome. Reflecting on how Barcelona have improved in terms of avoiding conceding early, Aitana Bonmatí emphasised that it is about overcoming adversity.

“Maybe we started a game losing and it was difficult for us to overcome it,” she said, fielding the majority of questions in the press conference, “but we lived that two years ago and also with Chelsea, we needed to overcome a first leg where we lost. I think that experience is very important but also we know that if we don’t get goals in the first minutes, it’s much better.”

The Ballon d’Or winner commented that in her opinion, Saturday’s match will be “a 50/50 final, very equal.” She went on to add: “I see us train every day throughout the season. I know about my team’s mentality and tomorrow will be a great day.”

“They say that finals are there to win, but I’d like to say that you also need to enjoy them because these are unique moments,” she continued. Caroline Graham Hansen also cut a diplomatic future, insisting that Barcelona have “learned lots of things from these finals – either by winning or losing. We’re now more prepared, more matured. We’ve experienced these situations often.”

FromTheSpot’s extensive coverage of the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Champions League will continue throughout the weekend.

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