Piqué in the first half / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

FC Barcelona, after the surprising expulsion of Gerard Piqué and David Barral’s goal, reacted perfectly to take the three points against Sporting Gijón. The Azulgrana players all agree that the most important thing is to keep on winning three points each week to keep Barça’s title hopes alive.

“Our work is done, we won and we want to keep [our title hopes] alive. This is our aim week after week. The only thing we can do is win the three points every week,” said Piqué. “There weren’t any spaces, there were a lot of defenders and they didn’t attack attack us. You want to close the game out quickly in games like this, but we couldn’t do it until the end,” said the fullback.

Piqué also talked about Seydou Keita, the man that scored the go-ahead goal as the clock was winding down: “he scored an amazing goal. To score a goal in the upper 90 is worth admiring. What can I say about Keita? He’s a very important player, a key piece in this team.”

The team’s good attitude

Despite being shown a red card, the Azulgrana defender highlighted the attitude displayed by his teammates against a rock-hard Sporting side: “I’m very happy for my teammates. They were able to win a very complicated match that keeps us alive in the League.

“My teammates were magnificent, they did a brutal job despite only having 10 men on the pitch,” said Piqué.

The defender took the opportunity to tell his version of the play that earned him a straight red card: “[the foul] wasn’t worth a red card, but there’s one referee and he makes the decisions.”

Here are the statements made by the FC Barcelona players after the match:

Pedro Rodríguez:

“I’m very pleased with how the team reacted

“I’m also pleased with how the fans responded, they helped the team throughout the match

“Playing a man down, we had to be a bit more aware of their counterattacks. However, we created our chances and we managed to earn an important victory”

Andrés Iniesta:

“The distance [with Madrid] is considerable, but we have to fight until the end

“We were expecting them to shut down spaces. In the end, however, the points stay here

“The manager knows that we all want him to stay

“When an important player like Messi can’t play, we all must try a bit harder

“Once again, the team played some great football

“The game got tough after the referee’s decision, but we had to attack. Our necessity is winning three points week after week

“Being a referee is very difficult, they make their decisions within seconds

Dani Alves:

“We have to value the great work we did tonight. We’re happy

“Talking about the referees is a lost cause

“We don’t have a margin of error. We have to keep on going with this attitude, and with it we’ll keep our title hopes alive

“It’s obvious when Messi isn’t on the pitch. He’s the best player in the world

“Gerard Piqué has his reasons to be angry”

Two reinforcements for Barça B

Sergi Roberto and Dos Santos, both on the bench in tonight’s victory over Sporting, will join the reserve side tomorrow morning. Both of the footballers will travel to Huelva to play with Eusebio Sacristán’s team (19:45, GotT and Canal + Liga).