After Barça’s important victory against Athletic Club Bilbao, the best player of the match according to RAC1 and many fans, Riqui Puig, shared his feelings as did Quique Setién and Guillermo Amor.
Barcelona received Athletic Club Bilbao at the Camp Nou, after a very difficult game, without lucidity on the part of the Catalans and another grey performance, Barça managed to add the three points thanks to the change of scenery that started from the second half.
In the 55th minute, the youngster and academy player, Riqui Puig entered the game and changed the team’s dynamics completely, gave air, dribble and the missing arrival. Minutes later, another academy player, Ansu Fati, also entered to bring the audacity and freshness that was lacking. In the end, with a goal from Ivan Rakitic, the three points stayed at home.
Matadepera-born midfielder Riqui Puig shared his post-match reactions.
“I want to bring joy to this club.”
“The explanation for the change of the team was that Athletic had less rhythm and when they lost that rhythm it favoured us because we could have more control and move the ball from one side to the other.”
“Very happy, especially for the minutes and the confidence Quique is giving me, and if we accompany that with good results, good minutes and a good rhythm, I am happy to give joy to this club.”
“It was a special game but at the same time very strange because it was the Sant Joan festival and we played listening to the firecrackers from outside.”
Quique Setién spoke about the team and analyzed the game, he also spoke about the youngsters who changed the game.
“The entrance of Riqui and Ansu has given us dynamism, we have taken advantage of one of those 18 shots that we have had near or within the area. I already said that Riqui did very well the other day against Leganés, like Ansu. You do not know when it is time for young people but we have two good footballers who are already joining to have the option to play minutes and make it difficult for the starters. They will help us a lot. This is how the titles are earned.”
“Riqui has a dynamic that will be very useful for us and Ansu has also done things very well. Sometimes one has doubts about the contribution of the kids in important games, based on doing things well, they will have the option to play more minutes. This allows players to distribute better or rest. We can all be a little cooler.”
“Riqui has entered well, with a lot of dynamism. This is what the game was asking for at the moment. The first part was difficult and then it was a little easier, but I am happy with what he has contributed, his dynamism and that he has understood what we have said. We are pleased with his performance.”
About the match.
“It is a triumph that allows us to continue at the top. The objective is to win all the matches. It was a similar encounter to those played against Leganés and Sevilla. It costs us against teams that are locked up, but in the end, we have found the winning goal and, although late, it has been deserved.”
“We have lacked precision, lucidity, we have not been fine in the recovery after loss, in filtering passes, but we have been in control except at times when we have given life to Athletic, which is a great team.”
“Athletic is a rival who, as the game progresses, weakens because they work hard on defence and that wears out. We have had more control, more spaces and we have ended up fencing them in their area and controlling their cons.”
“We have lacked, especially in the first half, a faster circulation, maturing the plays. Perhaps it is the game in which we have been most nervous, in the first half-hour against Seville we controlled the game but not today. We rushed a lot and we have conceded counterattacks to Athletic, we must know how to defend better with the ball and mature the plays. Of course, in the second half, being Athletic a team with tough and disciplined players, we have managed to prevent them from arriving in our goal.”
“We have five games in a row with a clean sheet, which has merit. I guess the Piqué thing is a minor contracture. ”
About Luis Suárez, who played 90 minutes in Seville and 85 minutes in yesterday’s game.
“Suárez is missing the competition rhythm, we are in permanent contact for when he needs the change. We indeed substituted him in the end, but he was fine. He is the one who will decide if he needs the change.”
About Rakitic, the goal scorer of the game.
“Busi [Sergio Busquets] is special and he will have to rest in Vigo because of the yellow card, but Ivan [Rakitic] has had a masterclass on how to steal the ball, how to activate on arrival.”
“He hasn’t played at the start, but he came out in the second for Busi, who had a card, and he did well. He understands football, he has been a pivot, he has stolen balls and he has taken part in that decisive action to attack.”
About Arthur and the situation that surrounds him, between rumours on his future and football-related problems.
“Surely it may be affecting [the rumours], we are happy with the work he does, he is an important player and we want him to focus. We need all the players, we will try to isolate ourselves from these situations, from this environment, although we cannot control it. We will talk to him to focus. It is a complicated situation, it is difficult to overcome all this. “
“We did not ask Arthur the same as before. We want him to get out between the lines and handle situations. This is hard for him, but he gives us other things. He gives us security with the ball. It is more or less true that he does not have much prominence to what he can give, although I am quite happy. The situation is not easy because he has to move in little space, think very quickly and is more used to receiving outside.”
Finally, Guillermo Amor, director of institutional relations for FC Barcelona, reacted to the match.
“It was a tough game, but this victory is fundamental, very important.”
“At Barça is to win and the way how to win. But that is Barça. And you can’t always play well. So it is important to win those days.”
“[About the youngsters] They have contributed a lot and have been important. I think Riqui and Ansu have been fantastic and Rakitic’s entry too.”
“And we know it. Barça is giving everything. All teams play a lot. Winning is valuable, very valuable. But we believe that we can be champions, it is difficult to win seven or eight games in a row.”
“We do not complain or usually complain about referees actions or errors. Yes, it is true that when the VAR came out, that we bet on it, we thought that with that we got rid of any error because errors were going to be rectified. But when there is any doubt, everyone becomes more nervous. Our message is: since we have the VAR, we are going to take advantage of them. That we are all very attentive, but the VAR is worth it. There are indeed fair plays but there are some that are quite clear.”