Ivan Rakitic won’t use travelling as an excuse as Barcelona draw with Valencia

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Ivan Rakitic refused to blame Barcelona’s hectic schedule after they failed to return to the top of LaLiga.

Lionel Messi’s first-half leveller rescued a point as Barca were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Valencia on Sunday.

Ezequiel Garay opened the scoring after just 79 seconds while the defender then marshalled Valencia’s defence superbly.

Barca are second, a point behind new leaders Sevilla, but are winless in their last four league games.

The only win in the last five outings came in Wednesday’s 4-2 Champions League victory against Tottenham at Wembley but midfielder Rakitic is not looking for excuses.

He told Eleven Sports: “I don’t want to use it as an excuse but obviously we have been playing lots of games and long journeys but that’s football at this level. We are really motivated and really looking forward to the next game.

“I thought we played very well and deserved more. It’s very difficult, you’ve got get back into a game when that happens (conceding a goal early) but we showed great spirit. We’ll take the positives and look forward to the next game.

“It’s a shame for all the work the team is putting in we’re giving our rivals this advantage.

“The league looks really good. It’s nice to see we’re all there at the top, it shows you have to work really hard every match.

“I was really impressed with the way we played. We’re happy we didn’t lose but a little bit disappointed with a draw.”

Barca battled back from conceding a sloppy opener in the second minute when Garay bundled in at the far post after Thomas Vermaelen failed to deal with a corner.

Lionel Messi scored an equaliser but could not find a winner
Lionel Messi scored an equaliser but could not find a winner (Alberto Saiz/Ap)

Valencia have won once this season but after their Champions League draw at Manchester United and a point against Barca, Garay believes they are on the up.

“We knew we were playing against a really tough rival and in general terms we put in a really serious performance,” he told Eleven Sports.

Ezequiel Garay put Valencia ahead
Ezequiel Garay put Valencia ahead (Alberto Saiz/AP)

“Barcelona force you back, look at the quality they have got up front. They scored the goal but after that (goalkeeper) Neto didn’t have too much to do. We held on well for the draw.

“The team is playing really well, we know were in a good moment, we’re starting to pick up points and we have to continue. We’re on the right track.”

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