NEWS
Sunday February 4 2018
Valverde: Barca struggled to adapt

Ernesto Valverde admits Barcelona struggled to adapt to the rainy conditions at Espanyol but ‘valued’ their 1-1 draw “for how tough the game was.”

Gerard Pique’s late header salvaged a point for Barca, who made the best-ever start to a Primera campaign as they remained unbeaten after 22 games, but Valverde was relieved to pull through the derby unscathed.

“The ball stopped in some areas and you didn’t know if each play would benefit or harm you,” the Coach said after the game.

“Taking into account our style, I think it was difficult for us to adapt and they used it to score.

“Pique? He scored the goal, that’s the way things are. In games like these, he takes responsibility.

“The match probably got too hot. Their goal, our equaliser and Pique’s celebration, the tension increased, but it’s nothing that doesn’t usually happen in derbies.

“Messi a substitute? It was something we’d talked about, and resting him is something that we weigh up on the fly.

“It was meditated and not influenced by anything, just like when Luis [Suarez] rested at Cornella in the Copa.

“We’re inundated at the moment and we still have lots ahead of us. We value this draw for how tough the game was.”

Football Italia website