Tito Vilanova / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Tito Vilanova rued his men’s missed chances after tonight’s match: “In the first half we played at a good level and the normal thing would have been to go to the break with a better result.” The manager also contradicted Manuel Pellegrini, who declared that Málaga were the better side in the second half: “I don’t think Málaga were superior. In the first half we were the better side and in the second it was more equal.”

“It wasn’t an easy day to play”

Without using it as an excuse, the manager noted that “today wasn’t an easy day to play.” It was windy and the ball wasn’t optimal, said Vilanova, who also lamented the lack of chances created in the final 15 minutes of the match when Barça were up a man. “We didn’t open up the field when they were reduced to 10 men,” he said.

Tito defends Alexis

Vilanova was quick to come to Alexis’ aid when he was asked about the forward’s two missed chances in the first half: “Just like with Thiago, we need to help him. He’s a young player that goes all out. If he missed those chances it’s because he worked hard to create them. We can forgive him his missed chances, but we can’t forgive him if he doesn’t try, and he tries. He’s one of us and if we don’t help him it will be more difficult for him.”

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

Iniesta:

“It’s a shame but this is the Cup. We have to go there and win the match.”

Pinto:

“We deserved a better result but we still have 90 minutes to play. We know that it will be complicated but nothing has been decided.”

“We’re obligated to win. We know we can do it because we did it in La Liga.”

“The fans are very important to us. We feel like we’re accompanied by them and that gives us confidence. The fans encourage us and they give us strength.”

“We’re a bit sad but we have to pick ourselves up and move on.”

Mascherano:

“It’s a shame because we had chances to increase our lead, especially in the first half. We didn’t manage to convert those chances and we ended up conceding the equaliser while being up a man.”

“We shouldn’t feel down about it, what we need to do is correct the errors and go to Málaga and win the match.”

“Sometimes there are matches where we can’t play with the same fluidity that we have in other matches.”

“We shouldn’t go crazy about this, rather we just need to go to Málaga and win the game. This team has shown that it can win in any stadium.”

“It will be a difficult match because our opponent has very good players and a good manager.”

Puyol:

“Málaga didn’t give up. They kept on fighting and the managed to get their prize. We played against a good team today.”

“In the first half we played well, we could have scored more goals but it wasn’t meant to be. Now we have to go there and win.”

“We have to move on, learn from our errors and go to Málaga and win the game.”