Ernesto Valverde has admitted he was indecisive about making substitutions against Valencia while Barcelona were chasing a winner.
Lionel Messi had cancelled out Valencia’s second-minute goal with an equaliser 20 minutes later, but Barca couldn’t find another goal to take home all three points and end their winless run in La Liga, which now stands at four games.
Valverde waited until the 84th minute to make his first substitution, bringing on Ousmane Dembele for Philippe Coutinho, before making another switch just two minutes later when he replaced midfielder Arthur with Rafinha.
“I left the substitutions until the end because I wasn’t sure about which moves to make,” the Barca manager said.
Though they had plenty of time to find a winner, only to be kept out by their hosts’ resilient defensive display, Valverde was happy with his team’s efforts.
It was the third time in four league games that Barcelona came from behind to secure a draw.
“Apart from the game against Leganes (2-1 loss), we’ve had a response to every problem that’s come up,” the manager said.
The Catalans were 1-0 down within two minutes after failing to deal with a corner and conceding a sloppy goal, but Lionel Messi produced a brilliant equaliser 20 minutes later.
However, despite dominating the rest of the game, Barca were unable to break down a stubborn Valencia resistance as their hosts held on for a draw that leaves Valverde’s side in a winless run in La Liga that is now at four games.
The result also saw La Blaugrana relinquish control of top spot in the table, as they are now one point behind new leaders Sevilla.
“They defended very well and in the end we weren’t able to play that pass through to kill the game off,” Valverde said.