Ernesto Valverde Praises Barcelona Reaction Following Controversy-Filled Valencia Draw

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Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has praised his side's reaction after they came from a goal down to grab a late point against Valencia on Sunday evening in what was a controversy-filled La Liga clash. 

Rodrigo opened the scoring from close range for the hosts on the hour mark as Los Che adopted a more attacking game plan after the break following Barca's complete control of the first-half. 

However, with less than 10 minutes to go Jordi Alba was able to snatch a share of the spoils against his former club with a sublime volleyed finish from a tight angle after latching onto the end of a perfectly flighted Lionel Messi ball from deep. 

But despite a truly classic encounter from two of the three still unbeaten sides in La Liga - with Atletico Madrid being the other - the opening 45 minutes sparked major controversy as the officials failed to spot a perfectly legal Messi goal on the half-hour mark. 

The Argentine's well-struck effort from the edge of the area was fumbled by Valencia goalkeeper Neto and clearly crossed the line before the Brazilian clawed the bouncing ball away. 

However, the linesman in question was not up with play and felt that the 28-year-old custodian had done enough to prevent his side from conceding only their second league goal of the season at the Mestalla, much to the frustration of the Barcelona team. 

But Valverde refused to focus on the officials' negligence, both on and off the pitch - with goal line technology still seen as unnecessary in the Spanish top flight - and instead took great pleasure in praising his side for their positive reaction to the night's events. 

"We like to feel like we are in control of the game and that was true in the first half", the 53-year-old Spaniard told the club's official website

"They improved and they scored against us in the second half but we kept looking for the goal and we could have won it in the end.

"I am happy that, despite the controversy, we didn’t lose our concentration and we were able to respond to going 1-0 down."

The result leaves things how they were at the top, with Barca edging Valencia in the title race by four points. However, the lack of victory allowed both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid to gain some much needed ground, with their deficit now standing at eight points.