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Joaquin Caparros delighted with performance of team despite defeat to Barcelona.

Athletic Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros congratulated his players for their performance despite their 3-1 defeat to Barcelona at San Mames on Saturday evening.

The early red card of Fernando Amorebieta put his team under pressure, and the Camp Nou club took advantage, scoring goals from Seydou Keita, Xavi and Sergio Busquets to clinch a vital La Liga victory.

In the post-match press conference, however, Caparros explained that he was proud of the display of his players, even though it was the champions that left with the points, and also gave his opinion on the dismissal of his defender.

He stated: “I have to congratulate my team for their dedication, but if playing against Barcelona is complicated with 11 players, we realised that the expulsion would make it even more difficult.

“I will have to see the red card again. If it is a red card, then the players will admit it, but the fans are very wise and if 40,000 people have whistled [Andres] Iniesta, it must mean something."

David Villa was sent off close to the end but Caparros feels his team left too many gaps for Barcelona to exploit once they were a man down.

He added: “The expulsion of Villa gave us hope but we had little time to score. We have gone to try to get a goal, and so it is logical that the third goal would come from them.”

Los Leones' season continues with a difficult match versus table-topping Valencia next weekend.

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