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FC Barcelona may not have wanted to be involved in the UEFA Futsal Cup third-place play-off, but their talent nonetheless shone through in a 4-1 defeat of hosts Iberia Star Tbilisi.
The holders were dethroned on Friday by their eventual successors Kairat Almaty, yet coach Marc Carmona and players Torras and Cristian were determined to make amends today and return to next year's finals as Spanish champions. Marko Perić, who joined Iberia Star on the eve of the finals, rued the Georgian side's failure to gel as a team but savoured the experience.
Marc Carmona, Barcelona coach
I can only congratulate my players for the effort they have made. They competed well and have taken the game very seriously. It was very difficult to play in this game, so I congratulate them. Let me be very clear that we are not in the final because on Friday we did not play well. We came here to play in the final, so we're disappointed. To return, we have to be league champions. It was a huge disappointment not to be in the final.
Torras, Barcelona winger
We had to play in this game. We tried to do our best. It is very difficult to play in a third-place match, but when you don't do your homework in the semi-finals, this is what happens. We tried to play to get the confidence that we lacked in the semi-finals. We had to leave a good impression and strive to show how good a team we are.
When we play four against four we are much better, but when they play with a flying goalkeeper, it disrupts our plans. We have to face the games as they come. The important thing is that we won and we are third. Now we return to the league, where we have secured top spot. Then we have the Copa del Rey final on 11 May, and then the play-offs. We know that to return to the UEFA Futsal Cup we must be champions, and that's what we will try to do.
Cristian, Barcelona goalkeeper
The motivation is not the same in these games. We made mistakes in the semi-finals, and the hardest thing has been these two days in the hotel. For me, it was the toughest match of my career. We're not happy, because this victory doesn't make up for the defeat against Kairat. On Friday we took a blow, but that is now in the past and we have to think positively. If we want to return next year we have to win the league, and that's our goal.
Marko Perić, Iberia Star forward
We played two games against the two best teams in the world in Dinamo and Barcelona. I believe we played to a decent standard, especially today. We were a bit unlucky because against such a [good] team you have to take your chances. However, these sorts of games are very useful for the players as they give us a lot of experience. So [despite two defeats] I am satisfied, because it is the first time in the finals for me and for Iberia.
We lack common understanding on the pitch. The team has lots of new players and there was very little time to prepare for the finals. I feel great here. I joined the team and started training just two weeks before the finals. I should have done it earlier but I am happy just to have got to play in such matches.
Giorgi Altunashvili, Iberia defender
Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to prepare properly. When you have a new coach ten days before the finals, and when he meets new players, it is obviously difficult to have the proper preparations. But that would be difficult anyway.
We were a bit more nervous during our first game as that was our finals debut. Today, we were very committed and could easily have got another result if we'd had more luck with our shots. However, games against the strongest teams in the world and participation in these finals are great achievements in themselves for us.
Aleksandr Sarkisyan, Iberia coach
Some people compare our run in qualifying with these games in the finals. I would not do that because the difference between the opposition is huge. We played last year's champions and we still aimed to win because Iberia Star want to be the best in any tournament we take part in.
I can't speak about our plans for the future. We won the league and will have to prepare for the Georgian Cup final in May.
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