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Barça relieved to win but APOEL prove a point

APOEL FC took the plaudits from the Camp Nou after a defensive performance that had FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique and scorer Gerard Piqué grateful for a narrow victory.

Barça relieved to win but APOEL prove a point
Barça relieved to win but APOEL prove a point ©UEFA.com

Luis Enrique admits Barcelona had to tough out a win but happy with a clean sheet
Giorgos Donis says APOEL were "almost perfect defensively and could have scored"
Gerard Pique grateful Lionel Messi gave him the chance to be a match winner 
APOEL "proved they can be competitive" according to keeper Urko Pardo
Sergi Samper proud to make his UEFA Champions League debut

Gerard Piqué, Barcelona defender
I was lucky to score – I don't normally – but I had a great opportunity and it turned out to be the winning goal. So I'm happy for the win, for the performance and for the three points because starting with a victory is always important and we can now focus on the next Liga game. Lionel Messi delivered a really good ball for me and I had only to put it in the net.

APOEL know how to play, their style of football really works and they know how to go about their business. They defend really well and know how to counterattack. We wanted to score more but it wasn't possible and finally we had to concentrate really hard at the back in order not to concede.

Luis Enrique, Barcelona coach
We had problems because they gave us so little space. As a positive, we scored from a set piece. I also love the fact we have not conceded. It was a tough match and we made few mistakes so we deserved the three points.

The way forward is not to get over-confident. We always have to find solutions. I would pick the same team now having watched the match tonight – I would do it all over again. We were not too fluid and we know we have to improve and we will analyse our performance. I might make mistakes sometimes – I don't think I did tonight. You might think we should have won by four or five, but those are my decisions and you decide if they are right or not.

Giorgos Donis , APOEL coach
Defensively we were almost perfect and as a consequence Barcelona had very few chances. We could have scored because we are a big team and I was sad we didn't get a goal. But I am happy with the effort and it's a good lesson. When they are focused and want to do something, they can do it. We have to carry on at this level.

My objective is to win points in the group stage and be competitive in every game. It is positive to lose 1-0 at the Camp Nou and see the players feeling sad. We have a good attitude in the team. We could have drawn tonight. We could have made better use of our chances. So we are sad because we could have scored.

Urko Pardo, APOEL goalkeeper
You always want more as a player. I knew this stadium because it's like my second home [after playing for Barça B] but we are happy because we played very well. We proved we can be very competitive against a team of Barcelona's quality and so are a little disappointed to lose. Our mentality is the same as a few years ago when we managed to play against Real Madrid [in the quarter-finals]. It's step by step, game by game, and try to improve and learn about these big teams. But we are confident.

Sergi Samper, Barcelona midfielder
I was a little nervous but also very happy and proud to be able to play a UEFA Champions League game here at the Camp Nou. Just incredible for me! It was certainly a difficult game. They were very tight at the back, we had to just keep chipping away with our game plan and they were very well positioned throughout. The ball moves really quickly in a game like this and the pace is really intense. If you aren't right on your game then it's very difficult to play at this level.

Xavi Hernández, Barcelona midfielder
I started the season with some discomfort but now I'm fine. I played an hour and I'm happy because I did not have any trouble. Although we did not reach the level of our three Liga games so far, we achieved an important victory. This is the UEFA Champions League and every opponent is difficult. They did a good job defensively and it was very difficult to find the space we normally find. While it was not a very attractive game, with APOEL defending really well, the key thing was that in the end we got the three points.

Daniel Alves, Barcelona defender
It was a really difficult match but we're happy because we managed to win and get a good start to the group stage. APOEL made it tough for us, although we must be prepared to deal with that. In the end we got the goal and the result was never in doubt. We created chances and we tried to score more. Defensively too, the results speak for themselves – but it is a team sport and the attack is not just the forwards and the defence is not only the defenders.