Ernesto Valverde acknowledged Barcelona were far from convincing against Leganes but was content to come away from Estadio Municipal de Butarque with a win.
Barca hit back with a couple of second-half goals in Saturday’s clash against LaLiga’s bottom side after falling behind to Youssef En-Nesyri’s impressive early strike.
Luis Suarez headed in Lionel Messi’s floated free-kick and substitute Arturo Vidal completed the comeback 11 minutes from time with a scrappy goal.
A third away win in four outings for Barca moved them three points clear at the top of LaLiga, but Valverde conceded his side were again below par on their travels.
“We have to be happy,” he told Movistar. “I know it was not a brilliant game and we know it was a difficult game to play because they made it difficult for us.
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) November 23, 2019
“The opponents showed lots of hunger and it was windy, but I don’t want to make excuses. They defended well and made it difficult for us to play.
“We have not had a good start away from home because we have lost three games – that hurts.
“It was not a brilliant game, but on the other hand we were a goal down – something that has happened to us many times – and we came away with a victory.
“The positive is that we were losing and won. I recognise that it has been a difficult match, but these are the matches we have to win.”
Valverde fielded an attacking line-up for the trip to the Spanish capital that included Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Suarez and Ousmane Dembele in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
The front four interchanged throughout but created only one chance of note in the first half, with Suarez being denied by Ivan Cuellar.
“We have practised with that formation since the players returned from international duty,” Valverde said. “We expected to have space in behind, but once Leganes scored that changed.
Game. Winner. pic.twitter.com/BM0Ni8Kpry
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 23, 2019
“It is clear we have to keep improving. Even when you win there will by a lot of criticism, because people not only look at the result but also the game.
“But we also did good things today, otherwise we would not have won.”
Vidal scored 22 minutes after being introduced from the bench to make it four goals in nine LaLiga appearances this season.
The midfielder was initially flagged for offside, but the goal was allowed to stand as the final touch from Dembele’s corner came off opposition midfielder Ruben Perez’s leg.
“It’s always nice to score when it gives us three points,” Vidal told Movistar. “It was a difficult match and we had to rescue the points.
“It was very cold, we were coming off the back of a break and our opponents were playing for their lives.
“The new system was the coach’s idea. We did not start well but in the second half we controlled play with the system we usually use.”
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