Elche 0-2 Barcelona German kept out Rigoni
Ronald Koeman had his goalkeeper to thank as Barcelona came away from the Estadio Martinez Valero with all three points on Sunday.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen was called into action in with the Catalans 1-0 up the second half, after a mistake in defence allowed Emiliano Rigoni through on goal.
The German goalkeeper came out to meet the Argentine attacker and spread himself to top the ball with his right boot.
“I’m very happy with how we won [the game],” Koeman said afterwards. “We’ve had lots of matches in the last few days and we’ve kept focus.
“We were better than our opponents. We were patient. We won possession. It was difficult to score because they had lots of men behind the ball. But we pressed well.
“They didn’t have chances – they only had one chance and it came from a big mistake from our defence.
“But Ter Stegen was very good in the one-on-one [chance]. Luckily we have a good goalkeeper, because they could’ve equalised there.
“Defensively, apart from that mistake, we did well. The best thing about today was our pressing and our performance without the ball. We deserved to win.”
Frenkie de Jong scored the first goal and came up with the assist for the second in the 2-0 win.
“The three forwards aren’t enough; we need the midfielders to score too,” Koeman said on his compatriot’s performance.
“It’s good that he’s scoring and assisting. He’s improving. We want the midfielder to get into the box and get up there.”
De Jong set up substitute Riqui Puig for the second goal in the closing stages, with the youngster leading high to head in the cross.
“He came off the bench well and also jumped very well,” Koeman said on the academy graduate. “He got into the box, which is where we want our midfielders to be.
“When the coach gives you minutes, you have to show that you have a future [at the club]. He was important in this game.”
Barcelona are now seven points behind leaders Atletico Madrid in LaLiga Santander, though Diego Simeone‘s side have two games in hand.
“We’ll try [to challenge for the title], but Atletico are still strong,” Koeman added.