Iniesta celebrating his goal / PHOTO: Miguel Ruiz - FCB

Three more points in La Liga were secured ahead of the decisive Champions League quarterfinal match against AC Milan this Tuesday. Barça restored the six-point gap with Real Madrid after the Catalans beat Athletic Club 2-0. The players highlighted the importance of tonight’s victory as the team is now on an eight-match winning streak in La Liga.

Andrés Iniesta, who said it was difficult to beat the Basque team at the Camp Nou, said, “the game was very demanding, I think the team played a very good match. Athletic forced all of our players, from the keeper to the last player, to play well. We played a fantastic match.”

The midfielder praised Barça’s rival: “they didn’t create a lot of goalscoring chances, but they demanded a lot of us. We have to give value to this victory, because if you lower the intensity at any moment against Athletic, they roll right over you.”

A goal celebrated with euphoria...

Iniesta also explained why he celebrated his goal with so much enthusiasm: “scoring goals is always a joy, that’s why I celebrated with so much intensity. It just came out that way, I always want to help and play well.

“The goal was after a fast play, we were able to catch them while they weren’t paying attention,” said Iniesta. Barça, who hope to catch Real Madrid at the top of the table, remain alive in La Liga after a “beautiful match.” Iniesta added, “we needed to win the three points today, that’s what’s really important. If we keep on winning all three points each week we’ll have a chance to win the title at the end of the season.”

... now it’s time to focus on the Champions League

Iniesta talked about the return leg of the Champions League quarterfinal against AC Milan. “We have to win, that’s the reality. At home, with our fans, we have to get to the next round and we must go into the match with confidence. We’ll see 90 thrilling minutes,” said the midfielder.

Here are the statements made by Barça players after the match against Athletic:

Thiago Alcántara:

“We have to congratulate Athletic Club for their fantastic match. Furthermore, they are having a great season, they are a very young team and what they are achieving is meritorious. It’s not a coincidence that they are doing so well.

“Passing the ball and maintaining ball possession won us the match. It was important to keep a high pace throughout the match.”

On the King’s Cup Final: “there is still a lot left, when we meet again we’ll be two very different teams. We’ll see pure football, we’re two sides that like to play the ball.”

On the tie against Milan: “this match will also be decided by ball possession.”

On the team’s situation in La Liga: “we hope to cut into their lead. We believe we can make a comeback. Everything is possible and we can fight, however, we aren’t dependent on ourselves.”

Cristian Tello:

“Athletic played a very intense match. They were all over us, but it’s important that we won.

“The penalty is a satisfaction for me and for the team. We’re doing well and we have a good tone in our matches.”

Sergio Busquets:

“Milan will look to hit us on the counterattack. A tough match awaits us.

“There’s still a lot of Liga left, we’ll keep on trying until the end.”

Gerard Piqué:

“What a fantastic match! Congratulations to Athletic for the fantastic team they have and for the football that they play. It’s spectacular.”

Training session on Sunday

Barça will hold a closed-door training session this Sunday at 11:30 at the Ciutat Esportiva Sant Joan Despí. Pedro will hold a post-training press conference.

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