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Roura: Real deserved to win

Stand-in Barcelona coach Jordi Roura admitted Real Madrid were far superior in their 3-1 victory in the Copa del Rey clash on Tuesday.

Stand-in Barcelona coach Jordi Roura admitted Real Madrid were far superior in their 3-1 victory in the Copa del Rey clash on Tuesday.

An early goal from Cristiano Ronaldo set the tone before the Portuguese attacker doubled the lead in the second half, and Raphael Varane’s header ensured that Jordi Alba’s late effort meant nothing as the Blancos went through to face Sevilla or Atletico Madrid in the Spanish cup final.

“In the first round and in the Supercopa, the two teams were matched. They were decided by details. [But tonight, Madrid] were far superior and we lacked effectiveness,” Roura said.

“In football you cannot always control things; it is a game of mistakes. Madrid are one of the best teams around on the break. This is a thing that we knew, and we tried to control it but we lacked wisdom. That makes Madrid a great team.

“In La Liga, we have made a great effort. The first half [of the season] was the best ever. I do not think that this will affect us; perhaps this will give us peace of mind, because we have the league to focus on. But we do not have it won, so we must keep fighting.”

Barca face Madrid again on Saturday but that match is considered less important as the Liga is almost in Barca’s grasp, but early in March they will be tested against AC Milan in the Champions League.

Roura admitted the defeat in the Copa del Rey is hard to swallow, but demanded his players turn their frustration into focus as they seek to overturn a two-goal deficit in the second leg of their last-16 tie against the Rossoneri.

“The attitude of my players was commendable. We will overcome this bump,” the coach said.

“I have confidence in my team, and we will be helped by our great fans, I’m sure.

“I want to thank the fans for how they behaved tonight towards the team. We knew the difficulty of playing against Real Madrid.

“We’ve lost our Copa del Rey title, but our league situation is very favourable. It is essential for us. We also have an important match against AC Milan [to prepare for]. The Champions League and the league are major challenges that we’ll fight for.

“When you are eliminated from a competition, players are sad, but still very competitive. We must recover. Madrid will try to catch up to our good league level.

“It’s true that our fitness has cycles and we may have reached a fair bit [of a slump]. I do not know if this is because of the tough matches we’ve played. [However,] I have no doubt that on Saturday things will be different.

“With hindsight it is easy to say, but we knew we would find this game tough. Madrid have been effective with their counter-attacking football. But I do not think this game has [had much of an] effect on our game with Milan. Madrid play differently; Milan will be more conservative.”

Wed 27 February, 2013
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