Mel: Barca scared us

Pepe Mel reflected that Real Betis took too long to come out of their shell against Barcelona, only turning things on in the second half.

Los Beticos fell to a 2-1 defeat at home on Sunday, thanks to Lionel Messi’s early two goals. For Mel, it was the consequence of sitting off Tito Vilanova’s players.

“In that first half I did not recognise my team, it was not what we had spoken about,” the Coach told reporters afterwards.

“The key is to be first to the ball, we have not gone to press for it and they have had possession for the first few minutes and scared us.

“After, though, we understood better that against Barca you can win or lose, but you can only win if you put them under trouble, when you worry their defence.

“During the second half, we became the Betis that I wanted, that tightened up and looked to attack the opposition with every opportunity they got.”

Ruben Castro pulled a goal back just before half-time and Betis also hit the woodwork and had a couple of other opportunities to have scored a second in the game.

“For 50 or 60 minutes we were better, we knew we needed to work, but what normally glued us together was lacking today [Sunday].

“Barca deserve credit because we had the recent result over Madrid and they have had no trouble. We did begin to understand the game better as it went on, we pressed them up and down all over the field, we improved. We had three chances and were a lot better.

“The first move against us they scored and they frightened us as we were late to the ball. I did not expect my team to think it was best to defend near our goalkeeper.”

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