11 Feb Ernesto Valverde: Fatigue has caught up with my Barcelona players
Ernesto Valverde claimed Barcelona’s hectic schedule had caught up with them as the unbeaten LaLiga leaders were held to a goalless draw by Getafe at the Nou Camp.
Barca were underwhelming against their mid-table opponents, failing to register a shot on target during a first half when Luis Suarez had a goal correctly ruled out for offside.
Suarez was then denied late on by Getafe goalkeeper Vicente Guaita as Valverde’s men missed out on the chance to re-establish a nine-point cushion at the top.
It was Barcelona’s 12th game in 39 days since the winter break and Valverde admitted tiredness might have been a factor.
“We were lacking some freshness and rhythm, especially in the first half,” Valverde told fcbarcelona.com.
“Getafe are a team who stop you from playing so you don’t get close to their box. As the game went on we attacked more and more and despite our best efforts it wasn’t to be. They defended their box well and we lacked a bit of spark.
“We have had a busy month and have just reached a final.
“We can’t win every game we play or be 100 per cent all the time and this is why the coming week without a game comes at a great time for us to recover.”
Barcelona’s advantage over second-placed Atletico Madrid has been trimmed from 11 points at the start of this month to only seven now.
Valverde’s side have 15 games to go and their contests against Atleti and Real Madrid are both at the Nou Camp.
“This league is never easy, we’ll have to work hard,” Valverde added at his post-match press conference.
“We would like to have added three points but we are on the back of a very busy month.
“It’s logical that you won’t win every single match, there are always setbacks.”
Valverde handed a first start to Yerry Mina and the Colombian lined up at centre-back alongside converted full-back Lucas Digne in an unfamiliar partnership.
Mina was caught out, both in possession and positionally, early on but otherwise looked assured as well as being a threat at set-pieces.
“They played very well and we didn’t have too many worries at the back,” Valverde said of his two central defenders.
“As the game went on, they improved. I am happy for them as it was a difficult job and they coped well with it.”
This was the first time Barcelona had failed to score in a LaLiga game this term and Getafe boss Jose Bordalas thought his side were good value for their point.
“We’ve made a great game,” Bordalas said in quotes published on Getafe’s Twitter feed.
“It is a very important point. There have been times when we thought we could win.
“From the 20th minute we had more peace of mind and we had our chances.
“We can’t be thinking about the absences of Barcelona and detracting from my team.”