May 23, 2019
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Ter Stegen: Barcelona to focus on La Liga over CL semis

Barcelona, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen on Thursday said that his team has to secure the La Liga title before thinking about the UEFA Champions League semifinal clash against Liverpool.

"We want to achieve a very important thing for the club, fans and for us, the Champions League makes us very excited, but first of all we want to win the upcoming league games (against Real Sociedad, Alaves and Levante). It is a tough week, but if we win it we will be very close (to winning) the title," Ter Stegen stressed.

The German goalkeeper highlighted the fact that Barcelona made it to the Champions League semifinals at Manchester United's expense, adding that Europe's elite club tournament is "a high-quality tourney," where there is "a very small difference between the teams."

As such, Ter Stegen refused to consider Manchester City's exit from the tournament at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur, a failure.

"Certainly it is not a failure," the German netminder continued "What happened to City can happen to any club. Look what happened to Juventus against Ajax."

Against Manchester United, Barcelona made the semifinal with a 3-0 second leg win at the Camp Nou stadium, as Lionel Messi scored a brace and Philippe Coutinho rounded off the win with the other goal.

An error by United's goalkeeper David de Gea allowed Messi to score the second goal.

Ter Stegen explained he went to console the Spanish goalkeeper De Gea after the match, telling his fellow goalie "It was ok, that we are human and that this could have happened to me too. The truth is it was a little hard for me to celebrate that goal because he is a colleague who plays the same position as me. But life goes on."

Another stellar performance by Messi was crucial for Barcelona to qualify for the semifinals, and the goalkeeper jokingly explained when discussing Messi and the Argentine forward's import.

"Every time we enter a football field he surprises me with what he is capable of. Leo can make the difference as no one else does and it is always better to play with him than against him. That's why I came here and if I leave someday, I will have to search for a club that does not play in Champions (the Champions League)."

gmh/ta/sdh/ch

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