Neymar praises Athletic resolve

Barcelona forward Neymar admitted Athletic Bilbao “were the better team in the second half” of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg.

Barca capitalised on two sucker punches in the first half through Munir El Haddadi and Neymar but were unable to add to their lead after the break as Aritz Aduriz rounded off with a late consolation for 1-2, which the Brazilian felt was no more than Athletic deserved.

“They could’ve complicated things for us, but we had a good game and play the second leg at home,” he said after the game.

“Athletic didn’t let us score our third goal. We tried to play our game and they were the better team in the second half. They made things a little tougher for us.

“There’s a little bit of danger [in the second leg] because they’re a good side, so we have to be very alert.

“[On his disagreement with Inaki Williams], things calmed down after the game.

“Sometimes the tackles were fair, others they weren’t. The referee is here to make those decisions.”

Tags Neymar