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Ivan Rakitic tells Barcelona to ‘pull together’ after netting winner against Athletic

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The midfielder says the win will give his team confidence

Sevilla FC v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Ivan Rakitic scored the winner for Barcelona against Athletic on Tuesday and said after the match his team need to pull together for the run-in.

The hard-fought win moves Barcelona back to the top of La Liga, three points clear of Real Madrid ahead of their match against Real Mallorca.

Rakitic admitted his team had found it tough going at the Camp Nou but feels the victory will give Quique Setien’s side confidence.

“It was an important goal. It was a tough game. It was hard for us to open the game up. Athletic played really well but at the end of the day the moment came and I’m absolutely delighted to get my first goal of the season at last.

“It’s not easy. Athletic played well, they did their job, didn’t give us much space, made us need to move the ball quicker which we found difficult. We need to improve in those aspects of the game. But it’s not easy after such a long break for anybody. With a big win hopefully from now on we can play better and my role will be more important

“It’s difficult the last few games in general. They are very tough games, very equal games, no fans, it’s complicated. What we need to do now is pull together. I’m looking forward to the next game. We get a bit more confidence with this win and hopefully we’ll fight for the title to the end.”

The goal was Rakitic’s first of the season but his 50th in La Liga. The midfielder has now scored 25 goals for former club Sevilla and 25 for Barcelona.