Primera Week 24 - 17 Feb 2013 (14.00 UK)
Espanyol 1 - 0 Real Betis
Sergio Garcia 7 (E)
Estadi Cornella El-Prat

Javier Aguirre was left fending off suggestions of a European push for Espanyol, just as Pepe Mel was left thinking of what should have been.

Los Pericos have found form since Aguirre’s introduction to the bench and they have won six of their last eight League games, to jump up to 12th in the table, 11 points clear of relegation.

However, even as the side sit just six away from the final European qualification place, Aguirre is still looking down that table.

“We are calm, we know that we are fighting for survival, as that is an objective that is much closer,” commented the Mexican at full-time.

“Until we are mathematically safe from relegation the team will have to continue to suffer and run in every encounter.

“I vouch for what is in this team, for the fans I cannot comment. I cannot stop their euphoria or look to things we are not competing for.

“Against Real Betis, sometimes we got away from our opponent, we have made a great effort. In addition, we had a couple of chances to finish off the game, but Betis are a great rival. We had to be very patient for the victory.”

Week 24’s defeat saw Betis make it five games in a row in La Liga without a win, as Sergio Garcia’s early strike for Espanyol defeated them 1-0 at Cornella-El Prat.

“For us it was a heavy match. The first half we were neither good nor bad, but in the second half we had a hard time,” reflected Mel at full-time.

“We knew that if they went ahead it would be hard for us. Unfortunately, their first shot was a goal.

“I expected more from my team, we are capable and that is the feeling that I get - we wanted to do well but we could not.”

Raul Rodriguez was a notable performer for the Catalans, marking Benat Etxebarria out of the game.

“We knew that it would not be the same game if we fell behind as to when the score was at 0-0.

“Aguirre sent on Raul to mark Benat and he has done well, but we have to find solutions to that, which is why I leave disappointed, because we could have done it.

“In the first half we had no chances but we looked dangerous. The word is disappointment.”

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