Valverde: Pique handball instinctive

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde was adamant Gerard Pique’s handball against Olympiakos “was all instinct”, despite his red card.

Pique was sent off after he brushed a rebound into Silvio Proto’s net with his hand, but Valverde insisted the defender’s actions were unintentional.

“When I watch games on TV, they seem placid, but it’s not the case,” the Coach said after the game, which Barca won 3-1.

“We knew they’d get stronger once we went down to 10 men. That’s why we needed to find a second goal, so things would become easier.

“They came to defend and find a goal on the counterattack. With our opponents playing so deep, it was tough to find rhythm. Why take risks if they played deep and we had 10 men?

“Opponents disappointing? Olympiacos aren’t top [of their League] and came with the idea of surprising us in order to gain mental strength.

“They played a game that suited them, but we came away with very clear ideas.

“Pique? I haven’t seen the replays, but I’d imagine it was all instinct, with the goal so close to him.

“Messi? He splits the game up and looks for players to link up with. When he’s heading towards goal, he always looks for teammates to finish off his moves.”

Tags Ernesto Valverde Gerard Pique Olympiakos