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Guardiola not prepared to change for El Clasico
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has no intention of curbing his side's attacking instincts against Primera Division pacesetters Real Madrid in El Clasico - an encounter he believes could be a "fantastic" game.
Madrid, who boast a one-point lead over second-placed Barca at the top of the standings ahead of Monday's showdown, are still unbeaten in any competition under new coach Jose Mourinho and have won their last seven successive Primera Division matches. Barca, meanwhile, have won their last six leagues games - including an 8-0 thrashing of Almeria last time out.
Guardiola said: "I hope it will be a fantastic game. It's very difficult to avoid over-excitement with Madrid coming here. That's normal."
Madrid go into the game having won 15 and drawn the other four of their 19 competitive matches under Mourinho, while they have the joint-best attack in La Liga with 33 goals - the same as Barca - and the tightest defence with only six goals conceded.
Guardiola, who has led Barca to four successive wins over their bitter rivals, spoke highly of the capital club - but insists he will not be changing the two-time reigning Spanish champions` penchant for attacking football.
"Madrid are not just spectacular, they are also physical, effective, quick and direct while remaining well-organised and very strong," he said. "Mourinho knows that we will go out to attack and they will do it when they can. If we lose, I want to be able to say 'we`ve been Barca'.
"Madrid have always been a good team and always will be. I anticipate how Real Madrid are going to play and they know how we are going to play. There will be no surprises.
"Madrid are the team with the best counter-attack in the world. They`ve done this for a long time and for a team to play on the counter the other has to attack. And this is going to be us.
"It`s going to be a beautiful game. We aren`t going to change anything, we will protect ourselves but we aren`t going to play deeper. I don`t want that and it will also send a message to the players that I`m scared. We are going to do the same as always. We will try to win and do it in the best way possible."
He added: "Madrid seem strong to me. I`ve beaten Madrid four times, but I know that sooner or later I'm going to lose against them. If we both play to our best level, it'll be a draw. You cannot say that Barcelona are a better team than Real Madrid. It wouldn't be fair. Real Madrid are very strong."
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