Ernesto Valverde hailed debutant Jose Arnaiz for a ‘slick’ performance against Real Murcia and backed Barcelona’s B players to help the first team.
Arnaiz marked his first appearance for Barca’s seniors with a golazo as they beat Murcia 3-0 in Tuesday’s Copa del Rey last-32 first leg, and Valverde expressed his delight with the young winger’s performance.
“It was a typical Copa match, against a team with enthusiasm, who tried to face us by playing a tight game and using a strategy,” the Coach said after the game.
“We found it difficult at first, but with hard work and combinations, we were able to score and, in the second half, add two more.
“They also had chances to score, but we’re going home happy because we got a good result. We’ll keep going.
“B players? They’re first-team players, who don’t play regularly. Arnaiz? He’s slick, good at one-on-ones and has the opponents’ goal in his head.
“It is good for them to face situations like this and pull through. It’s a first step and we’ll see if they can help us later too.
“Vermaelen? He gave us solidity at the back and was quick. Alcacer? He was always there and moved well between ir centre-backs.
“We tried to feed his passes between the centre-s so he could score. We’re happy with him because he helps us.
“Athletic and Olympiakos next? They are two very emotional games for me and very difficult ones, with a lot of emotion.
“I’m focusing on Athletic first. In order to win at San Mames, you have to put in a lot of heart because Athletic will certainly do so.”