Ernesto Valverde praises Barcelona spirit in comeback win at Real Sociedad

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde praised his players for emerging with “three great points” from a considerable test after they came from behind to win 2-1 at Real Sociedad.

Valverde’s men went 1-0 down in the 12th minute at the redesigned Anoeta Stadium via Aritz Elustondo’s strike before things turned around in the second half, with Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele scoring in quick succession just after the hour-mark.

Sociedad had chances to go further ahead after the interval, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen making a couple of notable saves just before Suarez scored.

Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona have won each of their first four LaLiga games this season (Adam Davy/PA).

The result saw the defending champions extend their 100 per cent start to the season, making it four wins from four games in LaLiga so far this term.

And Valverde said afterwards in quotes on Barcelona’s official website: “We have picked up three great points. It was very testing, difficult match.

“Real Sociedad were strong, and although we dominated from the start, they scored from an isolated chance.

“We found it very hard to break through their defence, but we stepped it up a gear in the second half and the pace of the game changed. We took more risks and got more of the ball, and it was thanks to that that we got the three points.

“It’s at places like this that championships are won. You have to take these games, dominate them, and overcome the difficulties.

“Ter Stegen made some great saves. They had some very clear chances and he saved the day for us. But every one of my players did their job.

“There are always things to improve. But it’s never easy to come here. And it’s especially hard when you go a goal down so early. And the fans really got behind their team. There’s a spectacular atmosphere in this new Anoeta. If it was hard enough before, it’s even more difficult now.”

Valverde brought on Philippe Coutinho at half-time, and Suarez said after the game: “Coutinho changed the team when he came on.”

The Uruguayan added: “You have to appreciate that these are the kind of games that win you the league. It was important for the team to win here again to gain confidence.”

In both cases when Barcelona scored, the hosts failed to deal with a corner.

Sociedad boss Asier Garitano said: “We were quite comfortable and the goalkeeper has stopped well. But they made two goals on set pieces and I do not like that.

“Anoeta has been amazing and wonderful. The fans were heard, there have been very good things and, I’m sorry to have not got anything.”

Sociedad were playing at the stadium for the first time since the renovation that has seen an athletics track removed from around the pitch, with additional seating allowing supporters closer to the action.

- Press Association

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