‘Pique didn’t mean what he said’

Ivan Rakitic has attempted to defend Barcelona teammate Gerard Pique, who was sent off in the Supercopa de Espana defeat to Athletic Bilbao.

Pique was dismissed in the second half of the 1-1 draw as Barca lost 5-1 on aggregate to the Baques for allegedly insulting the assistant referee’s mother after he failed to flag Arituz Aduriz offside, and now faces a four-game ban.

“We are worried because he is a very important player. A sending off like that…I’m not sure,” Rakitic said at a sponsor’s event, AS reports.

“He didn’t say it with malice. We were all tense, all in the heat of the moment. He didn’t mean it particularly to the assistant.

“If you take into account every game, there’d be seven or eight dismissals.

“But we have to learn from it and hope he isn’t out for too many games as he’s a major player.

“We’ll stick together and when Gerard comes back we’ll go all out again.”

Rakitic added that despite the disappointment of the Supercopa, the squad was in a good place and ready to compete once more.

“We are very focused on what we’re doing. We’re working hard and the fans can rest easy,” he promised.

“We’re the first ones who wanted all six trophies but four out of five so far is fine. We’re very happy.

“We went for everything and we’ll continue to work just as hard.”

Tags Gerard Pique Ivan Rakitic Supercopa de Espana