April 12, 2021, 23:51

Sergio Busquets hails importance of Marc-Andre ter Stegen after Athletic Bilbao victory

Sergio Busquets hails importance of Marc-Andre ter Stegen after Athletic Bilbao victory

Sergio Busqets believes Barcelona have goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to thank for their victory over Athletic Bilbao.

Lionel Messi and Paulinho were the names of the scoresheet as the La Liga leaders maintained their four-point advantage at the top of the table, but Ter Stegen’s contribution was arguably as valuable.

At least two of his saves were worth a goal apiece, denying Aritz Aduriz from a one-on-one position at 0-0 and producing a brilliant diving effort from the same opponent with five minutes still to play.

“The victory is his,” midfielder Busquets told Movistar Plus. “He was key to the win and we are happy to have him with us.”

Busqets was a busy man in the anchor role as the hosts attempted to salvage something from the game and the Spain international admits the three points took their toll on Barca.

“It cost us a lot,” he said. “Especially in the second half because in the first we were better. They risked more after the break which helped them to have chances but we’ve won in a very difficult stadium. In the end it’s heads or tails.”

Highlights of Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona at the San Mames

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde, tasting victory for the first time as a visitor to the club he represented as player, assistant coach and manager, added: “It was strange at the beginning and during the match.

“I am not used to being here as a rival, but I had to get over that and we came through.”

He was also happy to see Ter Stegen and defender Samuel Umtiti come to the fore, taking a rare share of the spotlight from the attacking talents.

“We are lucky to have Messi, who decides games, but we also have a lot of very good players,” he said.

“The season is long and there are many games. There is time for everyone to shine.”

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