Valverde shrugs off Copa loss

Ernesto Valverde

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde had a stoic response to Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Espanyol in the Copa del Rey.

Lionel Messi missed a penalty before Oscar Melendo fired in the winner in the dying minutes of the match at the RCDE Stadium, but there’s still a second leg to be played at Camp Nou next week Thursday.

"We bore the brunt of the game and they waited for us to take advantage of their game plan," Valverde said after the match.

"They took the last chance they had. It was quite a dangerous place to play because they could counter any little imprecision we made.

"The penalty save gave them courage. We suffered in terms of strategy but not football. Any detail can decide a derby.

"Favourites? It’s the team that are winning or have an advantage. We have to overcome this adverse result, and we hope our fans will help us."

Valverde also responded to rumours that Inter Milan are eager to sign Rafinha, who made his first appearance in almost a year as a substitute against Espanyol.

"Rafinha is one more player that can help us," Valverde said. "We have several players injured and he’s training well. He’s improving with each day that passes."