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Valverde: Barcelona will bounce back from Espanyol defeat

19 January 2018

Espanyol now travel to the Camp Nou for next Thursday's second leg having won and deprived Barca of a vital away goal.

"We knew we would lose one day", Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets said.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has said he expects Rafinha to play a big part this season, despite talk of a January exit.

Gerard Pique has called for better behaviour from fans in the second leg of Barcelona's Copa del Rey tie with Espanyol after some unsavoury incidents in Wednesday's match.

"It's not up to me to take action on these matters, but we hope the same things don't happen at Camp Nou", the defender added when asked about the incidents.

Luis Suarez was left out of the Barca line up, as Lionel Messi led the attack with Denis Suarez and Aleix Vidal.

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Valverde said: "I liked my team a lot".

"I congratulate them and we'll meet again in a week's time". "The attitude was good and the players wanted to overcome the difficulties presented to them".

The return of Karim Benzema should boost Zidane's options across the front-line with the Frenchman expected to play for the first time in 2018 against Leganes.

"But their approach was to sit back and wait for us, closing any interior spaces". It was tough but we had it under control. "We have to accept the result". No other details about his injuries were made available.

Real struggled against a weakened Leganes team showing eight changes from the 3-2 La Liga defeat by Real Betis on Monday, indicating the host' lack of enthusiasm for the Cup despite supporters packing out their Butarque stadium.

Valverde: Barcelona will bounce back from Espanyol defeat