FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique revealed that the hard fought 0-0 draw between the Catalans’ rivals on Saturday was a fair result.
In an ill-tempered affair at the Estadi Cornell -El Prat, both sides failed to find the back of the net, but it was FC Barcelona that had the better chances on the night. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi came the closest to breaking the deadlock for the Blaugrana, but their efforts were only good enough to rattle the woodwork.
However, FC Barcelona were far from their fluent attacking best on the night, partly due to Espanyol’s ultra-aggressive approach to the match. Referee Gonzalez Gonzalez, a man who is often berated by the FC Barcelona faithful, awarded 5 yellow cards to Espanyol players during the match but was unable to assert his authority on the proceedings as a whole.
FC Barcelona’s stalemate against Espanyol coupled with Atletico Madrid’s late win over Levante means that Los Rojiblancos will head into Gameweek 19 as the new league leaders.
Enrique: Derby stalemate a fair result
Speaking to the media after his side’s third draw in four league matches, FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique revealed that the derby stalemate between the Catalan rivals was a fair result for both sides.
“The result was fair for both teams, despite the fact that we created plenty of chances,” said Enrique (as quoted by the club’s official website). “They were very intense. Every time therea s a derby Espanyol bring that kind of intensity.
“They pressured us and made it tough, especially at the beginning of the match. We had a very good start to the second half.
“They had better rhythm in the opening minutes, and they were at a very high level on the defensive side.”
Asked about the performance of referee Gonzalez Gonzalez on the night, Enrique replied, “Football is a contact sport. I dona t want to talk about the decisions of the referee.”
a FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 2, 2016
FC Barcelona’s title defence slipping up after three draws in four league matches
FC Barcelona headed into their early December clash with Valencia on the back of a couple of 4-0 wins over Real Madrid and Real Sociedad in La Liga and a 6-1 thumping of AS Roma in the UEFA Champions League. It has all gone horribly wrong for the Catalans since.
FC Barcelona have drawn three of their last four matches in the league, the latest coming against bitter derby rivals Espanyol. With Atletico Madrid overtaking them at the top of the table and Real Madrid breathing down their necks, FC Barcelona need to quickly re-discover their early season form that saw them dominate virtually every team in the league.