Busquets: Clasico was crucial

Sergio Busquets believes that in the wake of Barcelona’s victory over Espanyol it is the Clasico win that proved pivotal.

A Lionel Messi penalty delivered three points for Barca in the Catalan derby about a week after the Argentine scored a hat-trick in the 4-3 win over Real Madrid.

The Santiago Bernabeu triumph saw Barca move second behind Atletico Madrid, their visitors to Camp Nou on the final day of the season, and pushed Los Blancos down to third.

Busquets spoke to reporters after the win at Cornella-El Prat and said Barca deserved to beat Espanyol.

“There were chances for both teams but maybe a few more for us,” the midfielder said.

“It’s another victory and we continue to fight for the League.

“Derbies are always well fought and with lots of fouls and interruptions. It was a hard game for the referee.

“He could have shown more cards or whistled for more penalties. Pedro could have had one. It was difficult.”

The Spain international added that the Clasico win has given Barca a mental boost, and denied accusations he purposely stamped on Pepe’s head.

“Beating Madrid opened a door for us. The match was a deal-breaker and we came back,” Busquets continued.

“That’s our mentality and hopefully we can continue on. Our position is privileged and the future in our hands.

“I hope it stays like that until the game against Atletico. That will be a difficult game.

“We’ll have to work hard then to get the best possible result.

“Nothing happened with Pepe. I didn’t touch him. It’s nonsense,” Busquets went on.

“If I stamped on his head he’d have a size 45 mark or spike marks. It’s something pushed by the Press.

“But we live in a country where they can show this lack of respect.”

Busquets also paid tribute to Victor Valdes, whose season and possible Barca career ended when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament against Celta Vigo, having already announced he would leave Camp Nou this summer.

“Losing Victor would be significant for any team,” Busquets said.

“It’s the worst thing in football. We can only encourage him and hope he’s with us as soon as possible.”

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