Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde described Sunday’s 3-0 win over Las Palmas at an empty Camp Nou as a “strange situation for everyone”.
A goal from Sergio Busquets and two from Lionel Messi maintained Barcelona’s 100 per cent record in LaLiga this season, but the match will be remembered for the unique circumstances in which it was played.
LaLiga chiefs rejected a request from Barcelona to postpone the match in light of violent scenes that marred Catalonia’s independence referendum, which was declared to be unconstitutional by the country’s national government.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu explained the decision to play at an empty Camp Nou was borne out of solidarity and a “rejection of what has been experienced” as the stadium scoreboard bore the message “Democracia”, featuring an illustration of a ballot box.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Valverde admitted that the uncertainty surrounding whether the game would be played impacted on his side’s performance., with Barca particularly struggling in a goalless first half.
He said: “It has been very difficult. It has been a strange situation for everyone, complicated.
“We know the club was trying to postpone the game. It has not been possible to postpone and we played behind closed doors.
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“The club wanted to have a gesture to an exceptional situation that was taking place in Catalonia. It is a decision of the club at a delicate time for all and nothing more.
“It has been complicated. It is not a simple situation. We were not very focused and started with little rhythm.
“We pretended yesterday that everything was calm and respectful and it seems that it has not been so. Let’s hope that everything will go back but I’m not a politician. I do not know about this.”
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