'Leagues are won in matches like this' – Sergi Roberto hails Barcelona's battling spirit in Valencia win

By Sports Desk March 05, 2023

Sergi Roberto believes Barcelona's victory over Valencia provides another example of their LaLiga title-winning pedigree after being made to work hard at Camp Nou.

Barca defeated 19th-place Valencia 1-0 at Camp Nou through Raphinha's 15th-minute header to move 10 points clear of Real Madrid, who travel to Real Betis later on Sunday.

The Catalan giants squandered a big chance to effectively kill off Valencia in the 55th minute when Ferran Torres failed to convert a penalty.

A red card issued to Ronald Araujo four minutes later for bringing down Hugo Duro as last man changed the complexion of the contest, but Valencia failed to hit back.

It was far from a vintage display from Barca, but Sergi Roberto is pleased with the manner in which they dug deep to claim a fifth straight league win in this fixture.

"We showed we know how to suffer," he told Movistar. "The red card meant we found ourselves defending more as a team. This is part of a winning team.

"When you go ahead, you need to find a second goal to give yourself some peace of mind. If the penalty had gone in... well. It's a pity, but you have to know how to suffer.

"Leagues are won in matches like this. We have left Madrid 10 points behind, which is something we have to value."

 

Sunday's match marked the first time Barca have had a player sent off and also missed a penalty in a LaLiga game since March 2007 against Sevilla.

Sergi Roberto played 81 minutes of the contest and finished with the best passing accuracy (92.9 per cent) of any Barcelona player, completing 26 of his 28 passes.

The Barca academy product signed a new one-year contract on Friday, making it 14 seasons for the versatile right-back at Camp Nou.

"It is clear that I have been here for many years," he said. "I am happy to continue at this club I've spent my life with. It is where I want to be, where the coach wants me to be. 

"It has been easy and we understood each other quickly. I hope that years of many titles will come."

Barcelona have now won eight games by a 1-0 scoreline in LaLiga this season, which is their most in a full season in the competition's history.

Head coach Xavi watched this latest win from high up in the stands as he served a one-match ban and was put through the wringer by his side.

"I'm never going to protest again because watching the game up there has caused me a lot of anxiety," Xavi joked. "Not being able to communicate with my players was tough.

"The red card was clear as [Araujo] was the last man. It's a shame because we were in control but didn't deal with the danger well. It's a red card.

"You have to know how to close out games. Many times we haven't done it and today we were made to suffer even more because of the sending off.

"A lack of effectiveness is making us suffer. But with many absentees today, and a red card, we showed we still won."

Related items

  • Giannis becomes Milwaukee's winningest player as Bucks cruise past Bulls Giannis becomes Milwaukee's winningest player as Bucks cruise past Bulls

    Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 46 points as he became the player with the most wins in the Milwaukee Bucks' history on Friday, with the Chicago Bulls beaten 113-97 at United Center.

    For Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers, however, the focus is squarely on preparing for the postseason as the Bucks eye their third NBA Championship.

    Antetokounmpo surpassed the 40-point mark for the eighth time this season, also adding 16 rebounds and six assists, as the Bucks recorded their fifth straight victory.

    The win was the 489th of Antetokounmpo's Bucks career including both regular-season and playoff games, taking the two-time NBA MVP clear of Sidney Moncrief as the winningest player in franchise history.

    "Everybody has to be on the same page, and I feel like the last couple of games, we're doing that and that's why our defense has taken a step," Antetokounmpo said after the win. 

    "Hopefully, we can keep it up. Right now, it's just about trust. We've just got to trust one another. That's it, win or lose, we have to have the same trust."

    For coach Rivers, who has led the team to an 8-7 run since replacing Adrian Griffin in January, all that matters is ensuring Milwaukee are ready for the postseason.

    "We're winning games, but for us, it's not about that right now," Rivers said. "Our whole key is getting ready. That's the first thing I told the players. 

    "We still have work to do, we're still pushing, we've got to get better. It's nicer to get wins than to lose, but we're not where we want to be yet."

    Milwaukee, who sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 40-21 record, are back in action against the 38-20 Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. 

    They then embark on a four-game California road stretch on Wednesday, when they face the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. 

  • Eve eyes improvement from Soca Warriors in second friendly clash with Jamaica Eve eyes improvement from Soca Warriors in second friendly clash with Jamaica

    While pleased with their performance in a 0-1 loss to Jamaica in game one, Trinidad and Tobago's Head coach Angus Eve is anticipating even more improvements from his Soca Warriors when the two teams meet in the second game of the two-match series on Sunday.

    With Jamaican debutante Kaheim Dixon scoring the game's lone goal in the 58th minute at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday, Eve opted to focus on the positives in the exercise, which provided an opportunity for several local-based players to make their national senior team debut.

    Eve gave debut starts Tiger Tanks Club Sando pair of left back Shervohnez Hamilton and midfielder Kai Moos, while AC Port of Spain's versatile wing back Liam Burns also got his first start for the twin island republic. The overseas-based pair of Kai Garvey and Justin Obikwu, who started at the left wing and centre forward positions respectively, also found favour with Eve, who felt the new players adjusted well in their first outing.

    "It is going to be difficult for these guys (Garvey and Obikwu) coming from where they are coming from and trying to adjust in just a couple days of work. I thought they adjusted well. They tried to bring the strengths they had to the group," Eve said in a post-match conference.

    "For the most part, I thought the group did really well. We gave up a really soft goal and we could not get ourselves back in the game. I think it was a lack of belief and that happens when players are not accustomed to playing at this level consistently. For effort, you must give all of the guys an A," he added.

    Still, with the main objective being to identify players to fit into his final squad for the upcoming Copa America playoff fixture against Canada on March 23, Eve is expected to look at a different line up with hopes that they will be mor fluid and consist in their play to give the coaching staff much to think about.

    "I thought it was a great exercise for the guys. When you look at the starting team, we had about six or seven players who were uncapped. We need more exercises like this to expose these guys and give them the opportunity because they have been doing well in the league," the tactician shared.

    "So, it's now to give the guys who are more established a run out going into the playoff game. Rhondel Gibson was good on the ball and when he came on, the team started to believe a little bit more. He wasn't afraid to get to the ball and those are the type of players we are looking for to be that brave and show themselves," Eve ended.

    The second game is scheduled for a 4:00pm kick off (3:00pm Jamaica time), at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar on Sunday.

    NB: That game will be live on SportsMax.

  • Sean Dyche tells Everton players to take responsibility for missed chances Sean Dyche tells Everton players to take responsibility for missed chances

    Frustrated Everton manager Sean Dyche has told his players it is time they started taking responsibility for the chances they are missing in front of goal as more failures up front contributed to their 3-1 defeat at home to West Ham.

    Beto’s 56th-minute header, after he had missed the club’s first penalty of the season, put them ahead but Kurt Zouma equalised within six minutes and, having found goalkeeper Alphonse Areola in good form, conceded twice in stoppage time to Tomas Soucek and Edson Alvarez.

    Problems up front have been an issue all season – only the bottom two sides Burnley and Sheffield United have scored fewer than the Toffees’ 29 – but there are signs Dyche is starting to lose patience.

    “I am looking at the talent we have got and looking at the quality we have got and how we are not scoring more goals is just bizarre,” he said after a 10th game without victory.

    “I can talk about the xG, I can talk about the quality, I can talk about everything but I’ve never been naive in football and you have to go and do it.

    “I’ve just said to the players we have a responsibility collectively to actively go and take the chances we are creating and that is everyone.

    “It is hard to correct it when it is there, right in front of your eyes. What more can we do?

    “But the players have a responsibility at this football club as well as the manager and staff and we know it is a joint responsibility.”

    Dropping Dominic Calvert-Lewin, without a goal in his last 21 matches, was somewhat justified by only Beto’s second league goal on an afternoon of mixed emotions for the £24million summer signing from Udinese.

    But Dyche was pleased with the Portuguese’s reaction, adding: “That was what was pleasing about Beto.

    “Missing a penalty is not easy, he missed a good chance in the first half but he kept going and it is great header.

    “He fatigued so we had to take him off but it is another good marker from him to say ‘Look, I am ready and I want to take it on’.”

    For West Ham boss David Moyes it was two wins in six days to keep his side in seventh place and chasing European qualification.

    “I think the result was harsh on Everton but our goalkeeper made four or five outstanding saves,” said the Scot, on his return to his former club.

    “We scored three goals at Everton, they don’t concede too many, we scored four in the week against Brentford, so we’ve done the job.

    “We have come through six or seven weeks when very little has gone for us; today I don’t know if it’s the right word in that it went for us but the goalkeeper made saves which he is there to do.

    “I’d have to say I’m thrilled with the win, a wee bit of a throwback, but I really enjoyed it.”

    Moyes reserved special praise for his goalkeeper, adding: “He probably made the difference, his performance was terrific.

    “A lot of goalkeepers get praised for different things – the use of the ball – but most people from the era I come from it is the ones who save it with their hands and stop the ball going in the net most of the time and I thought he did that really well today.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.