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Barcelona: Setién, pleased for game changer Rakitic

Barcelona coach Quique Setién said he was happy for Ivan Rakitic after the midfielder's key contribution in Tuesday's slim win against Athletic Club.

Barcelona: Setién, pleased for game changer Rakitic
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A relieved Quique Setién was full of praise for Ivan Rakitic after the midfielder blasted in a decisive winner in Barcelona's 1-0 victory over Athletic Club at Camp Nou on Tuesday night

Barcelona return to LaLiga summit

Rakitic, who came on as a sub on 63 minutes, found the target just eight minutes after entering the game to lift the blaugranas back to the top of the table, three points clear of rivals Real Madrid.  The Croatian's future has been talked about in recent months but Barcelona coach Setién hailed his impact on a game which seemed to be heading towards a draw. 

"He came in in the second half for the Busi [Sergio Busquets] card. He has done it frankly well," the coach told Movistar.  "He understands football very well. He has placed himself well, has stolen balls and has joined a definitive action. I am very happy for him." 

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Puig and Ansu Fati make Barcelona step up a gear

Since returning from the coronavirus-enforced break, Barça have collected 10 points from four games and have yet to concede a goal.  Setién was happier with his side's second-half display, praising substitutes Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig for their performances

"In the first half we were not precise with the ball. We kept losing possession, it was difficult for us to recover the ball after losing it," he explained. "I have seen the second half calmer. The entrance of Ansu and Riqui has given us dynamism … they have given us a longer possession.  I am happy with the second half. And the first half we can improve." 

Celta next

Barcelona's busy run of fixtures continues with a trip to Celta on Saturday.


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