Ev­ery game throws up a new story, says Ini­esta

Span­ish giants claim that Celtic will feel back­lash af­ter sur­prise de­feat by Alaves

The Herald - Herald Sport - - CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - NEIL CAMERON

THE Barcelona cap­tain An­dres Ini­esta has promised that his team will be back to their best against Celtic fol­low­ing their sur­prise home de­feat on Satur­day to Alaves.

The leg­endary mid­fielder was rested by man­ager Luis En­rique and so be­gan the 2-1 loss on the bench along­side Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on a sober­ing night at Camp Nou for the Span­ish cham­pi­ons.

The bad news for Celtic is that Barcelona rarely if ever turn in two poor per­for­mances in suc­ces­sion and their sup­port­ers will de­mand bet­ter of their team on Tues­day.

Ini­esta, who has four win­ners medals from the Cham­pi­ons League, in­sisted the rare slip-up in La Liga will be for­got­ten about quickly.

“We must have pa­tience,” he said. “We have cer­tainly had a bad per­for­mance but now we need to an­a­lyse the causes and cor­rect er­rors. We are early in the sea­son and there is much room ahead to im­prove.

“Ev­ery game has its own story. You have to an­a­lyse why what hap­pened against Alaves hap­pened. But against Celtic ev­ery­thing will be dif­fer­ent. The loss should not af­fect us. Many things can be an­a­lysed af­ter a match and on Satur­day things did not go well. Alaves did a nice job and made a great ef­fort. We will take it game by game. When there is a de­feat, things must be cor­rected and im­proved ahead of the next game, and we must keep on go­ing.

“Satur­day was one of those games where noth­ing turns out well. We strug­gled and could not over­come their de­fence. In short, things were right and we have paid with the de­feat and the loss of three im­por­tant points.”

Ini­esta warned against the idea Celtic could be torn apart which what hap­pened in their last visit to Camp Nou when Barcelona put six goals past them on a night when it could have been a lot more.

“A Celtic blowout? We will try to im­prove our per­for­mance, although it is a dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tion al­to­gether,” said Ini­esta.

Ser­gio Bus­quets wore the cap­tain’s arm­band against Alaves and he, too, was adamant that the de­feat and per­for­mance was a one-off and by the time Celtic ar­rive in Spain his squad will have re­cov­ered and be ready for the be­gin­ning of what they hope is a cam­paign which will be­ing them their fifth Cham­pi­ons League suc­cess in 11 years.

“Many things were miss­ing from the week­end, it was a very tough game and a much de­served win for Alaves,” said Bus­quets. “The in­ter­na­tional break can­not be an ex­cuse. The man­ager de­cides who plays and there are many matches ahead. The sched­ule is what it is. We have been in this sit­u­a­tion thou­sands of times and we have dealt with it. We have to push on. They did not cause us much danger but they were ef­fec­tive. Now we just have to con­cen­trate on Celtic.”

De­nis Suarez, the Barcelona mid­fielder, was an­other to trot out the party line that one de­feat, and a de­served one at that, could not shake the con­fi­dence of a squad which has won ev­ery­thing in the game.

“What hap­pened on Satur­day against Alaves, the dis­ap­point­ing re­sult, will not have an ef­fect on the next game,” said the for­mer Manch­ester City player. “We will go into the Celtic match with a new men­tal­ity be­cause we want to get three points from our first Cham­pi­ons League game.

“The last game is gone and we must for­get about it. The most im­por­tant thing now is beat­ing Celtic. We know how Celtic play. We have al­ready had one match with them in the sum­mer. They are a good team, a strong team and so this will not be an easy game. Maybe Celtic will be even bet­ter since we met them last time and then they gave us a tough game. It is the Cham­pi­ons League, we want to win, but we will have to be at our best be­cause we play an­other cham­pion.

“We had some play­ers away last week with their na­tional sides and that might have had an ef­fect. That will not mat­ter come Tues­day. We will be ready.”

WORD OF WARN­ING: An­dres Ini­esta is un­con­cerned by Barcelona’s de­feat at the hands of Alaves.

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