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Just seconds after the final whistle of Barça’s scoreless draw with Málaga on Saturday evening at Camp Nou, after all his teammates had already headed past the benches, through the tunnel, and up the steps leading to the dressing room, Sergio Busquets was the lone player still out on the field, where he was attending to a post-game interview.
“We know these types of games are tough,” the Barça midfielder said. “We tried but we were unlucky in front of the goal.”
“That’s football,” he said. “If you don’t finish you can’t win.”
He spoke the truth. But despite Barça’s obvious lack of luck in a game they dominated — 80% possession to 20% for Málaga — many people’s minds were focused on the absence of Lionel Messi (stomach ailment) and Luis Suárez (yellow card accumulation) as possible excuse for having failed to find the net for the first time in 32 straight games at home.
“Not having Messi and Suárez?” Busquets wondered aloud. “They are two of our biggest difference-makers and you’re always going to miss them, but that’s not an excuse.”
Instead, Busquets sized up the game along strategic and tactical lines. “They were very well organised defensively,” he said. “They conceded possession and, with it, scoring chances. But for us, there was almost no space to operate.”
“It’s a shame, but now we have to focus on [Tuesday’s Champions League game versus] Celtic.”
Barça defender Gerard Piqué and midfielder Sergi Roberto also spoke to the media after the game. Here are the highlights of what they had to say.
“With Málaga down to ten men it was easy to move up on attack, but it just wasn’t to be. We had plenty of chances, one goal disallowed, Kameni was very good. But we have to put these games away earlier, and not have to worry about trying to win in the final moments. When games drag on and we’re not winning in the final minutes, it’s a lot tougher.”
“We played fairly well. We had the ball, we moved well, we created chances. But sometimes the ball doesn’t want to go in; that’s football. We drop two points but we move on.”
“We shouldn’t be dropping points at Camp Nou, it’s difficult when games like this get away. Next week we’ll head to Anoeta motivated to take home three points.”
“We’re Barça; we don’t make excuses when players are out. We still have great players.”
“In games like these you get a little worn down, and you get a little desperate. They were well positioned, which keeps you from finding space. We tried to find space along the side-lines with crosses, but we weren’t able to finish.”
“When your opponents have the whole team back in their own penalty area it becomes very complicated. If they’re well organised it’s difficult to score.”
“We have to think and reflect. Camp Nou has to be our fortress, we shouldn’t be dropping points. We have to be positive and think about the next game.”
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