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FC Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets steps over Valencia midfielder Rodrigo De Paul. / MIGUEL RUIZ

Sergio Busquets didn’t get the chance to be the hero this time. The midfielder, whose last-minute goal handed Barça a dramatic victory at Valencia a year ago — incredibly, the last time Valencia lost at home in league play — was reduced to nothing but words this time.

Although Busquets wasn’t able to alter the outcome on Saturday night, and nor were any of his teammates, the midfielder did speak to reporters after the game to talk about the 1–1 draw.

“Valencia defended very well,” he said. “They scored on us and we didn’t have enough time to turn things around on the scoreboard.”

While many in the realm of FC Barcelona may regard Saturday’s result as a bitter disappointment, the perpetually stoic Busquets wasn’t having any of it. “This draw is not a step backwards,” he said. “We’re still leaders and if we keep playing this way we’re sure to win more games.”

When asked to break down the game, Busquets was frank. “Valencia played back on defence, but we were good,” he said. “We were better than them but we didn’t put the game away and that was a bit of a problem.”

Here are the highlights of what some of the other players had to say after the game:

Andrés Iniesta:

“Until it’s over anything can happen when you don’t put the game away. I’ll go with how the team played at a place like Mestalla.”

“The draw is a shame but I get the feeling that the team keeps growing.”

“Valencia tried to make it uncomfortable for us but we were able to find space anyway. We just needed to score another goal.”

Ivan Rakitic:

“Our play was much better than theirs but we missed chances to put the game away.”

“The team was a ten because we played very well on a very difficult pitch. We deserved to win, but that’s football.”

“The most important thing is the way we played. We could have won but we have to keep playing like today because we were really good.”

Luis Suárez:

“The game leaves a bitter taste in your mouth because we had it, we had a lot of good chances, and we let two points get away.”

“The play where I stepped on their player was involuntary and I apologised.”

“We played a good game and we have to keep working to win games.”


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