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Valverde confident Barcelona can bounce back after first loss since August

The LaLiga leaders were knocked down by their rivals.

Barcelona manager Esterno Valverde is confident his side can overturn a 1-0 loss to Espanyol in the Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg.

Lionel Messi saw a penalty saved and Espanyol sub Oscar Melendo found the net with two minutes left to play as Barcelona lost their first game since August.

Speaking to fcbarcelona.com, Valverde said the saved penalty “may have been the turning point”.

He added: “I liked my team a lot. They had a good attitude and had the game under control, but we didn’t manage to convert the many chances we had.

“In turn, Espanyol defended well, corrected their mistakes and took their chance.”

“I congratulate them and we’ll meet again in a week’s time.

“I hope to see the Camp Nou like it was the day against Celta, with the fans behind the team and helping us to mount a comeback. It’ll be a nice game.”

Espanyol boss Quique Sanchez Flores was full of praise for Melendo.

Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “He is with us since his youth. That he scores and signs the victory is fantastic.

“He is a mentally strong boy and it is fantastic that he has been able to knock down FC Barcelona with a goal.

“The guys have understood the game phenomenally.”

The second leg takes place on January 25.

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