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The Blaugrana boss opted to praise his team for a hard working display on the night, and dismissed suggestions they were fatigued from their Copa del Rey victory over Real Madrid

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has refused to criticise his team, despite overseeing a 0-0 draw to lowly Primera Division side Villarreal on Saturday.

The champions picked up a sixth draw of the campaign against the Yellow Submarine, which means they now fall seven points behind Real Madrid at La Liga's summit, but the 40-year-old insists he could not ask for more from his players.

"We played very well and ran a lot. I want to fight for every point like we fought tonight," said Guardiola after the match. "Playing like we have a good season, there is no blame.

"I want to convey to my players that we will fight to the end. Now we have to win everything at our disposal.

"Being five [points behind] is better than seven. We have been too attentive to the things they do well, we have lacked luck when putting the ball in the net but my assessment is that I am satisfied, especially after last week's work."

Guardiola also shrugged off suggestions Barcelona had paid the price for their two-legged Copa del Rey quarter-final victory over Real Madrid in midweek, before praising Villarreal for their courageous display.

"We did not get tired at the end. We have been very demanding, but I prefer to stay in all competitions," continued the trainer. "I have few criticisms.

"We have played an excellent game, but Villarreal are a team that have a lot of shots on goal and play very well if given space.

"Marco Ruben was fantastic and won all the second balls, while Joselu and Camunas found lots of space."

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