Barcelona's Pep Guardiola: Athletic Bilbao are the most intense team I've ever faced

The boss of the champions has praised their opponents on the night, highlighting their aggression and high energy levels, but feels his side had chances to bag all three points
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has poured praise on La Liga counterparts Athletic Bilbao, after claiming that they are the most 'intense' opponent he has ever locked horns with, in the aftermath of the 2-2 draw at San Mames.

The champions of the Primera Division needed a goal from Lionel Messi right at the death on Sunday to have something to return home with, but the 40-year-old was glowing in his analysis of the Basque club, after also revealing that he enjoyed the match as a spectator.

"I'm proud of my players today, but I also want to congratulate Athletic Bilbao," he told AS after the game. "Everyone has enjoyed this great show thanks to 22 very good players. These are the best games I have ever been to, and that comes from the two teams' will to win.

"I have said that they are beasts, as I had never played against a team so intense, so aggressive, that leaves you so little space," he continued. "If you're not prepared they will beat you, as they have a very intense, peculiar way of playing.

However, he was not so complimentary towards his own team's efforts, but reserved credit for Lionel Messi, who once again rose to the occasion for the Catalan giants.

"We created many scoring chances, but how can we be satisfied if we always want to win?" Guardiola asked. "Of course there were mistakes, but the players performed well.

"[Referring to Messi] he had a wonderful game, and is always on top," concluded the coach.

Barcelona remain in second place, but have fallen three points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

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