Pinto warming up on Saturday. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

José Manuel Pinto met the challenge of stepping in for Victor Valdes and carried it off with flying colours. Since Barça’s number one keeper was handed down a four-game suspension for the incidents at the Santiago Bernabéu, Pinto has helped Barça take ten of the 12 points on offer and concede just three goals, exhibiting great security and confidence in thwarting out the opponents attackers. 

Pinto played in the wins over Deportivo (2-0), Rayo (3-1) and Mallorca (5-0) at the Camp Nou and the 2-2 draw in Vigo against Celta. The team which gave him most work were Rayo, when he was called on to make seven stops – though there was nothing he could do to prevent Tamudo’s consolation strike. In Vigo he also made a brilliant double save, when the scores were still 0-0.

Precise passer

Far from being overawed by stepping up, Pinto has taken charge of the defence, organising and marshalling the players ahead of him and also starting off a number of moves, completing 93 of his intended passes (89%) and in the Mallorca match completing all 23 of his attempted passes. In that game he also finished up as captain, when Iniesta was substituted in the second half.

13 games so far this season

Pinto has made a total of 13 appearances so far this campaign, with 1 in Europe and 8 in the Cup to add to his 4 league games and has conceded just 12 goals(3 in the league and 9 in the Cup).

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