Ernesto Valverde refused to be underwhelmed about his team after his first official game as Barcelona manager ended in a 3-1 defeat against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup first leg on Sunday.
Lionel Messi, as usual had drawn Barca level after Gerard Pique’s own goal opened the scoring at Camp Nou, but late efforts from Cristiano Ronaldo, who was also sent off, and Marco Asensio handed Madrid the advantage ahead of Wednesday’s second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“I don’t feel we were as far away as the scoreline indicates,” he said in his postgame news conference.
“[Madrid] were strong in midfield, which made it tough for us to play through the middle. They’re a side that run a lot and they use the space well.
“They scored three, but it was a game in which we did well and we had chances. They’ve caught us out with a counter-attack at 1-1 [to make it 2-1] and scored a great goal — that second goal did a bit of damage to us.
“And the third goal was, again, a great goal. It’s not just about getting to the danger zone, but also being clinical.”
“It’s not about accumulating people who score a lot of goals, but creating a consistency in our play so that the players who score the goals are always close to doing so,” he added.
“I don’t think we’re short of goals. [Madrid] were more clinical. We congratulate them and we will try to improve.”
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