Barcelona to set record straight in Champions League

16 April, 2019, 05:17 | Author: Amy Huff
  • Getty Images  Etsuo Hara

Pique produced a man-of-the-match performance for Barcelona in their 1-0 win over Premier League giants Manchester United in what was the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal clash.

He retired from global football with Spain previous year after 102 appearances, a World Cup title and a European Championship crown. We respect them as a team, and the history they have behind them.

"I watched a very even game", the Barcelona coach added at a press conference reported in the Spanish media.

"We'd played Wednesday [against United] and we have the second leg on Tuesday".

Asked what he feared about Tuesday's opponents, Valverde said: "Their spirit - also the power and pace they have in their side".

"I don't know if they did or if it was Messi who made a decision to be quiet", he told RT.

"We will prepare another final as if it were the last one", he said. "Everyone did well, we're only sorry for the defeat, but we paid for inexperience".

Ousmane Dembele's chance of a start there would appear enhanced after he played 67 minutes following his recovery from a hamstring injury.

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Messi was left out of Barca's squad for their draw away to Huesca on Saturday, and Valverde said: "He's fine after the blow he suffered".

Messi's presence in the starting XI serves as a significant boost but the 31-year-old has not scored at this stage of the competition since 2013, a streak spanning 12 quarter-final appearances.

Dembele also saw a shot go just wide, but overall it was a tiresome game with Huesca unable to seriously challenge Ter Stegen in the Barca goal.

"Obviously, we always want to win but this game came in special circumstances for us".

Valverde backed his opposite number Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's complaints about the lack of time between games. "This wasn't the normal situation for a player to make his debut, which is usually going into a lineup that is full of regular starters".

The dominance of Barcelona in Spain has been shaped by Lionel Messi.

The early goal should have settled the Catalans into their stride as their dominance of possession was close to 90 percent in the opening stages.

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