ESPANYOL 2-2 BARCELONA

Barcelona boss Valverde: "De Jong's sending off really hurt us"

Barça's boss spoke after the 2-2 draw at Espanyol: "The result leaves a bad taste because we wanted to win but we ended up on 10 men…"

Ernesto Valverde, entrenador del FC Barcelona.
Rodolfo Molina DIARIO AS

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde gave his thoughts on this evening's 2-2 draw at Espanyol. Despite the result, Barça end the first round of games as winter champions in LaLiga, level on 40 points with Real Madrid.

Once again Barcelona were forced to come from behind and ended up drawing...

We've had to come from behind in a number of games  - in some games, it's gone well for us and in others it hasn't. We were hurt by having De Jong sent off. We were close to making it 1-3, but it just turned out like it did. And in one, quick move, they scored. We had the game under control and were looking comfortable after we had taken the lead. We were keen to add to the scoreline. We lost control a little (with the sending off).

Why is it such a struggle?

It's football. It's a struggle for us and it's a struggle for everyone else. Our opponents close up. They were motivated and we struggled to advance on their goal and create chances.

It's leaves a bad taste because we wanted to take three points from this game. It seems like you've lost points. We put in a game to win, but we ended up on 10…

Frenkie de Jong is sent off in the derby

Luis Suárez and Vidal played key parts in the game

We were a bit too rigid in the first half. We needed to turn the game on its head. They gave us an extra edge in attack.

The first half of the season is over. Barça top the table, level on points going into the next round of games.

It's very even. It's a real effort to win and get points. It's normal for the league to be keenly contested. You always look back asn see that you've dropped points but we have to keep fighting and trying to win.