Prandelli takes positives from loss

‘He was smashing it past me’ – England keeper Heaton on Hudson Odoi

Cesare Prandelli says Valencia should be proud of their performance against Barcelona in La Liga on Saturday, despite suffering a last-gasp 3-2 defeat.

Lionel Messi opened the scoring at the Mestalla with just 22 minutes played, before on-loan Barca striker Munir netted an equaliser seven minutes into the second half.

Rodrigo put Los Che ahead just four minutes later, but Luis Suarez quieted the home fans with his leveller just after the hour mark. And just when it looked as if the hosts had secured a draw, Messi converted a 94th-minute penalty.

Speaking after the game, Prandelli told the club's official website: "The team responded very well and the fans created a magnificent atmosphere. We prepared for the game well, it was a complicated match from a physical and competitive perspective. We should be proud."

Prandelli felt that his side may well have emerged with something from the tie, had some key decisions gone their way, but he chose rather to focus on the positives.

He added: "I don't like to talk about the referees but the pictures are quite clear. It is necessary to keep our organisation and improving. We need to keep on this road and work each day.

"The plan was to be very tight, move quickly on the counter-attack and free-up players in midfield which we did at times during the game. The result will be easier to take on board during the week if we concentrate on what we have done well. The next game will be even more difficult."

Munir though was far more equivocal in his response: "I am happy with the goal but not the result, we deserved at least a draw. I will try to help the team when they need me, wherever it is I will try to do my best. The team did very well and we will continue working."

Rodrigo, who scored his first goal of the season, said a draw would have been the correct result.

"It is a shame that we lost the game right at the end of the game but we need to remember how well we played. A draw would have been fairer. 

"We knew that we were going to have our chances because they play with a lot of space. A few referee's decisions didn't go our way. My situation with Umtiti was a penalty and the red card for Busquets was very clear. 

"Situations that change a game and if they were against us then they would have been whistled but we know how this works. We never gave up and went for the game right to the end."