Roura lauds Sanchez, Iniesta
Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura reserved particular praise for Alexis Sanchez and Andres Iniesta after La Liga's leaders beat Getafe 6-1 in today's early kick-off at the Nou Camp. Chile forward Alexis finally opened his account for the season by grabbing the opener in the sixth minute, with Lionel Messi's 35th league goal of the campaign making it 2-0 soon after.
David Villa and substitute Cristian Tello stretched the lead in the second half before Getafe substitute Alvaro Vazquez's late consolation, and there was still time for Iniesta and Gerard Pique to add their names to the scoresheet to round off an enjoyable afternoon for the Catalan club.
Roura, overseeing first-team affairs with head coach Tito Vilanova still in New York undergoing cancer treatment, was delighted to see Alexis get off the mark and purring with superlatives for Spain midfielder Iniesta.
"We're very pleased with his work and attitude," the Barça number two said of Alexis. "He's been a bit unlucky lately and I think he scored a great goal. That goal gave him a lot of confidence. [Iniesta] played at an extremely high level. He plays with such ease. He makes football look so easy. This is what makes him great."
The match kicked off at midday local time - the first time Barça have played so early in La Liga - and Roura was delighted to see 85,610 fans in attendance and thrilled with how his team responded.
"The players were at an extraordinary level," Roura said of his men, many of whom had clocked up considerable air miles on international duty for Spain's midweek friendly against Uruguay in Qatar. "They played with a lot of intensity from the first minute. It was an unusual time to play but we had a party in the stadium. (A full stadium) is important for the spectacle."
The win lifted Barcelona provisionally 12 points clear of Atletico Madrid and restored their 16-point advantage over third-placed champions Real Madrid. Iniesta, who was involved in Barça's first three goals before scoring the fifth, was typically modest in his post-match analysis.
"It's good that we all contributed, but in the end the best thing is that the team won and that we played well," he said on www.fcbarcelona.com. "There are seasons that I've played almost every match. I try to stay at the same level and I try to improve. It was a great morning for football. It was spectacular."
Pique too was more than content with how Barça responded to the challenge of their first early kick-off. "We felt great on the pitch," the centre-back said. "A lot of people were able to make it to the stadium and the atmosphere was fantastic. It wouldn't be an inconvenience if we had to play at the same time in the future.
"We have a very complete team. A few players that don't usually enjoy a lot of minutes (on the pitch) got to play today and they proved that they are at a good level. This gives us tranquility. We're lucky that we get to enjoy Andres (Iniesta), and we have to take advantage of the fact that he plays for Barça."