Valverde heaps praise on ‘determined’ BarcaJanuary 15, 2018
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has praised his team-mates for not dropping their heads in the 4-2 win over Real Sociedad.
Sociedad started off well and took the lead in 11 minutes thanks to Willian Jose whose diving header found the back of the net.
Barcelona nearly equalised straight away through Paulinho but his shot was blocked by Raul Navas.
Just before the half hour mark Sociedad thought they had doubled their lead through Jose again, but it was ruled out after the referee deemed he had fouled Ivan Rakitic.
A few minutes later though the home side did double their lead when Sergio Canales found Juanmi, who scored after he dribbled past the Barcelona defenders and his shot beat Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
“It was complicated for us,” the Coach said after the game.
“Getting back to 2-1 helped us, and after the break we came out determined, applying the highest pressure and going for the win.
“The best thing is that we believed we could win the game, at a ground that tests us and against a team that very good football.
“We’ve lifted the curse of not winning here for a long time, and I’m happy with how we did it by recovering two goals.
“La Real were better than us on several occasions in the first half, they were clinical and it showed how difficult it is to win here.
“It was difficult for us to overcome the pressure. They’re a good team, who caused us problems.
“Each goal has its own mystery behind it. The goal before half-time was very beneficial for us to feel close to the comeback.
“We were already going for the win by the time we equalised.”
Just before half-time Barcelona managed to half the deficit thanks to Brazilian Paulinho after Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez linked up well before the Uruguayan’s pass found Paulinho who got the better of Geronimo Rulli with his close range tap-in.
Shortly after the break Suarez pulled the scores level after a lofted pass by Messi found Suarez who curled a wonderful shot past Rulli and straight into the top right-hand corner of the net.
Five minutes later there was some concern coming from Sociedad’s bench after David Zurutuza had over stretched stretching for the ball but he had ultimately pulled his groin and was forced off.
Twenty minutes from time Barcelona added a third again through Luis Suarez after a poor clearance by Rulli allowed Thomas Vermaelen to send a long range header to the striker before he side footed it past the goalkeeper.
With five minutes remaining Barcelona still had time for a fourth goal this time it was Messi getting on the scoresheet after Suarez as fouled by Mikel Oyarzabal, the resulting freekick was truly world class from the Argentine striker as it nestled it’s way to the top left-hand corner and it left Rulli rooted to his spot and wrapped up the three points for Ernesto Valverde’s side.
The goal for Messi was of extra importance as with it he became the highest top league goalscorer for one club in Europe’s top five leagues surpassing Gerd Muller with his 366th LaLiga goal.