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Ronald Koeman praises his Barcelona players for their victory over Villarreal

Antoine Griezmann scored both goals in the 2-1 success.

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Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman (Tim Goode/PA)

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman (Tim Goode/PA)

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman (Tim Goode/PA)

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman described their 2-1 LaLiga victory over Villareal as a big step towards the title.

The club drew level on points with Real Madrid with a game in hand after the encounter, and are now just two points adrift of league leaders Atletico Madrid.

French forward Antoine Griezmann was responsible for both goals at Estadio de la Ceramica, with Villareal weakened after the break when Manu Trigueros was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Lionel Messi.

Griezmann’s first goal was a swift response to Villareal’s opening strike from Samuel Chukwueze, with the host’s lead cancelled out within just two minutes before Barca’s second strike followed seven minutes later.

“It is always important if you are down on the scoreboard to react quickly,” Koeman said in a post-match press conference reported by Marca.com.

“It was in one minute and with a fantastic goal, it has given us confidence and it has been very important.

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“It’s a big step towards the title, every victory is a step forward, every match is difficult.

“We reacted well to their goal, creating chances, we were tired in the final stretch but we defended well.

“Sometimes you have to suffer, you can have a good opponent, someone who makes it difficult for you.

“We weren’t nervous after their goal, in the end it was enough to get a win out of a complicated ground.”


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