Every coach or manager needs to stand by his or her players in hard times, and that's exactly what Pep Guardiola did after Barcelona's Champions League loss to Chelsea on Tuesday night.
Chelsea was down by one man, but ended up rallying back to tie the game 2-2. After beating Barcelona in the first leg at Stamford Bridge a week ago, the Blues now advance to the final in Munich next month.
Barcelona had the perfect chance to hammer Chelsea, but star player Lionel Messi missed a penalty kick at 2-1, which many believed to be a sure thing for an elite guy like him.
After the match, Guardiola had nothing but kind words to say about Messi.
Per The Guardian:
We have got this far thanks to this kid. More than ever I want to thank him for what he's done.
My admiration for him knows no limits. He is an example for all of us, his competitiveness inspires us. He's daring, he's brave and he plays fantastically well in all kinds of different conditions.
I don't doubt he will have a few bad hours now but sometimes you smile and sometimes you are sad and it's our turn to be sad. Someone else is going to the final in Munich and we have to come back next year.
Guardiola knows that nobody is perfect. Messi just had a bad kick. Furthermore, his missed penalty kick is not the sole reason Barcelona lost, and Guardiola is well aware of this.
While some fans might be outraged that Messi missed the easy shot on goal, they need to remember all the good times he's given them.
Choosing to speak kindly of Messi was a smart move by Guardiola. There's no doubt he's upset Messi didn't put the ball in the back of the net, but sharing his frustration publicly would have been a terrible decision.
When emotions are high after a loss, people tend to say things they most likely shouldn't. Thankfully, that isn't the case here with Guardiola, who took the high road.
It's a bummer for Barcelona and a tough loss to swallow, but they'll fight on and come back with a vengeance next year.
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