Fati, Pedri, ter Stegen react after Barcelona’s win over Real Betis: “Need to play better”
Barcelona secured a hard-fought victory over Real Betis on Thursday night via penalty shootouts to make it through to the finals of the Spanish Super Cup.
It was a tightly-contested encounter between the two La Liga teams that culminated in a 2-2 draw after 120 minutes of action. Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s heroics during the shootouts ensured that Xavi’s men did not face another semi-final elimination from the competition.
The German goalkeeper had been immense during the 120 minutes of action before the shootout as well, making several important saves. And his two stops in the penalties clinched it for the team.
Speaking after the match, ter Stegen insisted that he was looking forward to the final against Real Madrid, saying: “El Clasico will be a nice match. We’re excited to play… and win.”
On his personal form, the German added: “I think that I’ve been playing at a great level for the past year or so. I feel great, I’m having a great moment on the pitch.”
However, he insisted that the team needed to defend better in the coming matches, saying: “We have to defend better. We have to move forward. This match was a huge effort. We suffered a lot and they reached our side of the pitch too easily.”
“I wish that I had less to do in the match. Recently we’ve been defending well, but today we left too many open spaces,” he later added.
Talking about the upcoming duel between himself and Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, ter Stegen said: “The final will be beautiful, I feel. Both Courtois and I will give everything. We have to improve. We need to play better on Sunday.”
Pedri, who had a top game in midfield, and scored the winning penalty in the shootout, was elated after the victory, as he said: “It was a good victory today, we hope to win the final. Betis are a difficult opponent, and they hurt us a lot.”
Talking about the team’s failure to successfully kill off matches in recent times, he said: “Every time we score the 1-0, it’s like we subconsciously think that the match is over. We need to address that.”
Pedri, who was named Man of the Match on the night, claimed that ter Stegen was deserving of the award, saying: “Ter Stegen deserves the MOTM award more than I do. Ter Stegen is crazy.”
When asked why Barcelona celebrated getting into the final more than Real Madrid, he replied: “I don’t care about that. We focus on ourselves. We want this title and every title we compete for. Hopefully, we can win our first title in the Xavi era on Sunday.”
Ansu Fati’s cameo on the night stole the show as he produced a wonder-goal in extra time which could have sealed the win for Barcelona if not for Moron’s equaliser.
“I feel good. People have been talking a lot, but the best is yet to come,” he said after the game.
The youngster also went on to praise ter Stegen, saying: “Ter Stegen is a ‘crack.’ He has shown it in this game again and I’m happy for him.”
Talking about the match, Ansu added: “They made us suffer, and we knew it was going to be a complicated team. The important part is that we’re in the final.”