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Ivan Rakitic takes on Espanyol's Víctor Álvarez during Saturday's scoreless draw in Cornellà. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Rakitic receives instructions from head coach Luis Enrique. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

When it came time for the players to address the media pool that had assembled deep inside the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat following Saturday’s knock-down, drag-out derby between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol, it was one player’s words which were the most captivating. While there’s no question that the draw was disappointing to many, FC Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic took a different tack.

“Sometimes the ball just doesn’t want to go in,” he said. “But we have to move forward because we’re playing well and we’re dominating.”

Rakitic wanted to be clear that there was no place for pessimism. “If we weren’t generating chances, then that would be worrisome,” he said.

The Croatia international tried to extinguish any doubts by reminding everyone that, in addition, reinforcements were on the way in the form of Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal, who have been on the side-lines since June while waiting for the infamous FIFA sanction to expire.

“They’ve had a tough time,” Rakitic said. “It’s always important for players to come, even more when they are this good. We’re really excited for them to join us because, with them, we’ll be even better.”

Besides Rakitic, goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, midfielder Andrés Iniesta and defender Gerard Piqué also spoke to the press after the match. Here are the highlights of what they had to say:

Claudio Bravo

"We were tense early on because of the respect we have for them, and we knew what we were going to get. It was tough. They pressured us well and the field was in bad shape. But there are no excuses. We came in looking for the three points and didn’t get them. Now it’s time to rest and think about the next game against the same opponents."

"We gave it our all and tried to do what we usually do. They did a good job. This [season] is long, we must continue working hard. We try to win any way we can."

"The fact that we didn’t win worries us, because we are very demanding. Now we have to work harder than ever. They ran and [were highly aggressive]; it was tough."

Andrés Iniesta

"We focus on our play. I have nothing to say about the referee."

"We tried to find ways to beat them, to be sharp. We don’t play too many games like derbies, which are to the max, especially when they’re in their stadium. Now we know what's coming in the Copa del Rey."

"The Cup tie will be different, especially the [Camp Nou] game. Due to the stadium and playing in front of our fans. It’s two games and we are going out to win them."

Gerard Piqué

"When we play in Cornellà we expect them to be intense and that they’ll pressure us and, today, that’s what happened. The [poor condition of the] pitch did not help on first touches, and that allowed them to pressure us sooner. It was an uncomfortable game. As far as intensity we were fine, but we lacked fluidity with the ball."


Rakitic not worried by Espanyol draw por fcbarcelona
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