Pique: Refs influenced La Liga…

Gerard Pique claims referees “influenced” the outcome of La Liga but accepts it was Real Madrid’s title and admits Barcelona “had to be infinitely better”.

Pique was speaking at a Press conference for Saturday’s Copa del Rey Final against Alaves, whom he labelled “the revelation of the season”, although he was confident Barca’s quality would rise to the fore at the Vicente Calderon.

“Alaves? They’ve been the revelation of the season and they have a historic chance of winning this trophy,” explained the defender.

“It’ll be a very difficult game and we hope to do things right from the start.

“Luis Enrique? We’ve had three, very good years under him. He deserves a great final.

“He’s been one of the best in our history and there’s no better way of saying goodbye than winning a trophy.

“Lucho’s legacy? Perhaps with you [journalists], he didn’t have the best relationship in the world, but he conquered us all.

“Alaves? They’ll be a team that sit back, looking to play on the break, and their players offer a lot of defensive help. We must be aware at the back and create chances.

“Creating an independent medium? I’ll inform you when the time is right.

“My role of spokesman? Sometimes you have to go out and defend things.

“It’s touched me, and I’m delighted to have taken it on. There are always times when you have to face the music and nothing happens.

“Previous meetings with Alaves? We don’t have to look at them.

“The Champions League Final? I’m focused on our Final, but you know that I prefer Juve.

“Still, it won’t change anything about our season. We’ll try to do our best next year.

“La Liga? The referees have been able to influence [games]. I won’t pull out a list, but ultimately Madrid won it and we have to turn the page.

“It’s clear that we must implement VAR, which would’ve been decisive, but there were games in which we didn’t measure up. In order to win the League, we had to be infinitely better.

“With VAR, refereeing mistakes are reduced and thus we’re all on equal terms.

“VAR will take on a lot of the referees’ responsibility and it’ll result in a lot less mistakes being made.

“Court cases? It seems that there have been many because they’ve all come out at once.

“It’s another issue with Hacienda, which hasn’t made how things should proceed clear enough.

“It’s happened to me on a personal level. Now it just so happens that there are so many all of a sudden. It’s something we have to learn.

“Umtiti? He’s had a very good year. It’s very important to have a lot of desire, like he has. I hope Samuel can have a better career than mine at Barca.

“Lack of enthusiasm for the Copa? We can’t control [what the fans think]. We’ll have a great game and you’ll see the great motivation we have.

“Deyverson? I think he’s a good striker, who takes great advantage of Theo and Femenia’s crosses.

“Suarez’s absence? We’re a team that can’t think about absences. I’m sure Paco will do a great job.

“Sergi Roberto’s absence? Surely there’ll be players to replace him. The XI who start will have the quality needed to win the Copa.

“Marlon? He’s a very stable player. He always brings out the ball from the back and has character.”

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