Barcelona: Ernesto Valverde calm after defeat


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Ernesto Valverde is confident his Barcelona side can recover from Wednesday’s 1-0 Copa del Rey defeat to local rivals Espanyol.

The Blaugrana tasted defeat for the first time since August as Oscar Melendo’s finish two minutes from time gave Los Periquitos their first win over Barca for 11 years, with Lionel Messi seeing a penalty saved earlier in the second half.

Injuries meant Valverde was forced to rotate at El Prat and the game also saw Rafinha make his first appearance for almost a year following his recovery from a knee injury.

The pair will meet again next Thursday at Camo Nou but first up for Barcelona it is a La Liga trip to Real Betis on Sunday.

An away win is 1.33, with the draw 6.00 and Los Beticos available at 8.50. Valverde remained philosophical after the defeat and is confident the result will not hinder his side going forward.

“They took the last chance they had,” he said. “The penalty save gave them courage. We suffered in terms of strategy but not football. Any detail can decide a derby.

“Favourites? It’s the team that are winning or have an advantage. We have to overcome this adverse result, and we hope our fans will help us.”

Its been a significant 24 hours for the club with the news that Gerard Pique has signed a deal to keep him at Camp Nou until the summer of 2022.

After coming through the club’s academy, the defender spent time at Manchester United before returning in 2008 and with 442 games under his belt, the 30-year-old has agreed on fresh terms which include a 500m euros release clause.

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