English League 2

Boothroyd bemoans opener

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Sat, 02 Mar 2013 20:30:00

Assistant coach Aitor Karanka was delighted with the performances of Real Madrid's fringe players after their 2-1 win over Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.

First-team coach Jose Mourinho made seven changes from the side that beat the Catalans 3-1 on Tuesday at the Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey.

But Madrid overcame an almost full-strength Barcelona side thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos in-between Lionel Messi's leveller for the visitors.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Karanka said: "You need all your players to deliver in a big game like this, including the ones who play less often.

"Of all the performances of the team, I was particularly impressed with those players. The team have shown that, whoever is playing, they deserve to be trusted."

However, Karanka warned his players against being complacent after the consecutive victories over their biggest rivals, ahead of Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg encounter at Manchester United.

"We have to be happy with the result but if we think we have done something extraordinary we could end up regretting it on Tuesday," he said.

"There's no champagne here to celebrate anything, all we'll be doing is working hard while remaining excited about the rest of the season We have to keep going in the same direction."

Karanka explained that Madrid dealt with the pressure of having the three decisive games - the two with Barcelona and one at Manchester United - in such a short space of time by just focusing on their day-to-day work.

"We work hard every day and these games make us work even harder," he added. "Everyone was saying that the season could be over this week but we haven't let us affect us.

"We just work to make sure the team is as good as possible."

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura was happy with his team's performance, despite the defeat.

He said: "We came here to try and increase our advantage (over Madrid in the Primera Division table) and we have to be happy with the team's attitude, we stood up and were counted and had chances to win at a very difficult stadium.

"We could have got something from the game, but we are still alive and well."

Roura did not comment on goalkeeper Victor Valdes being sent off at the final whistle for arguing with the referee, simply saying: "I went straight to the dressing room after the game and I didn't see anything."

Roura did not complain outright about the penalty which Adriano was denied in the final minutes of the game after a challenge by Sergio Ramos, but implied he was not happy with the decision.

He said: "I don't have anything more to say about the refereeing. I spoke during the week and to me it is perfectly clear if you look at the replays."

Barcelona are now 13 points clear of Madrid in the Primera Division table and 12 clear of Atletico Madrid, who play Malaga tomorrow.

Roura stressed the need for his team to return to winning ways and hold onto, or increase, their lead at the top from now until the end of the season.

"The important thing is now to keep trying to pick up points, we still have a significant advantage and we will try to extend it even further," he added.

The Shrimpers were denied a crucial victory when Johnny Mullins cancelled out Kevan Hurst's opener two minutes from time to frustrate Sturrock.

"We had the chances to win the game but we didn't take them," said the Scotsman.

"Four players should all have scored and when you consider that's against a team going for third in the table that's quite encouraging.

"But to concede like we did at the end was disappointing. We should have defended much better and in the end this feels far more like a defeat than a draw.

"We're now six points away from the play-offs but there's still about a quarter of the season to go.

"There are plenty of points to play for and many of the teams still have to play each other so there's everything still to play for.

"However, we really do need to get on a good run."

Johnny Mullins cancelled out Kevan Hurst's opener when he fired home at the back post after a goalmouth scramble, a result Evans felt they deserved.

"I thought for an hour we were simply outstanding," said Evans. "In the first half we were the dominant side which is hard to be here at Roots Hall.

"We opened them up time after time and we could've executed some situations better before they scored a wonder strike through Kevan Hurst.

"After that, the substitutes I brought on inspired us to get the point and we showed a lot of passion and character which is excellent to see.

"I didn't think it was going to be our day but we got some dangerous balls into the box which in the end gave us the equaliser.

"It is another game on our quest for promotion and I believe we have the team here capable to get up."

Nicholls fumbled into his own net under pressure from Jamie Cureton before the same player and Jake Gosling added second-half goals to lift the Grecians above their opponents on goal difference in League Two.

"I think we got what we deserved, although the first goal is a foul on Lee," said Boothroyd.

"Jamie Cureton is a wise old fox and he has got his elbow up around him and he has pinned him down. But Lee is 6ft 4in and he knows he needs to come for that.

"I have no complaints about the others - we got done at a corner, we got done at a wide free-kick and a counter-attack.

"You would have to say that we didn't deal with their threat from set-plays which is very unlike us and then we have had three off the line. It wasn't to be our day.

"We have been very difficult to beat but the problem was they scored their goal and it settled their nerves.

"You have to be quite philosophical about it but at the same time we know we need to improve on that because that is not a true reflection on us as individuals and as a team."

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