Valencia manager Unai Emery has spoken of his pride in his players’ efforts despite their 1-0 loss to Barcelona on Wednesday.
Two-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi scored the match-winning goal for Barca as they extended their La Liga lead on Real Madrid to 10 points, but Emery said he felt his side had their share of opportunities to topple the champions.
“Barcelona had respect for us and played with three centre backs. That didn’t change their style but it did affect the way they went forward. We adapted and started strong,” Emery said.
“Later on, however, we paid the price for various mistakes that came to Messi. Luckily his attempts were stopped by (goalkeeper Vicente) Guaita in the first half.”
“We had slightly more chances than them in the first half. We had the chance for Jordi Alba that could have been onside. The game was good, but we could have improved.”
“We managed to do that in the second half, and the team had a few chances. Just when we were at our best, Messi appeared and scored the goal.”
Emery added that Valencia”s performance would mean nothing if they were to drop points in their visit to Mallorca’s Iberostar Estadi on Saturday.
“We are satisfied with the way that we played, with intensity, pressing Barcelona and always looking to win. But, when you lose a game, you are always left with a feeling of hurt,” he said.
“We want to recover as soon as possible against Mallorca on Saturday, and keep playing in the same way.”