Football: Moyes hails Barca conquest his 'happiest night'

David Moyes on the sidelines of the clash with Barcelona. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
David Moyes on the sidelines of the clash with Barcelona. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (AFP) - Real Sociedad's David Moyes lauded the heroic efforts of his players who beat Barcelona 1-0 on Sunday thanks to a Jordi Alba own goal in a day of shocks in La Liga.

Despite their lowly league position of 13th, Sociedad have shown themselves well capable of upsetting the odds having now defeated Barca, Real and champions Atletico Madrid at home under three different coaches. And Moyes believes his challenge now is to draw that level of performance out of his players on a more consistent basis.

"It is the happiest night since I arrived in San Sebastian. We worked very hard. The players showed courage and defended incredibly," said the Scot. "This team has shown it is capable in the big games against the best teams in the league and now we must show the same capability to win the other games. At home, for example, we have let a lot of points slip away.

"We defended well tonight and that is what we have to do in all the games, but in other games when we don't have to defend so much we also have to pass the ball and attack better."

Barca boss Luis Enrique paid a heavy price for leaving both Lionel Messi and Neymar amongst nearly 300 million euros of talent on the bench. Both South American stars only arrived back in Spain on Friday after an extended Christmas break and Moyes defended his counterpart's decision to only introduce them after the break.

"The best players can't always play at their best level in every match. The biggest games for Barcelona are still to come and in that sense I think Luis Enrique made the right decision.

"I was hoping this would happen, that some of their most important players wouldn't start and we were prepared for that." Enrique also refused to accept that he had made an error with his starting line-up as Barca had more than 70 percent of possession and 17 efforts on goal, but failed to take their chances.

"To feel sorry afterwards doesn't help anyone. I took the decision to avoid risks with players that made a long journey only a few days ago.

A third league defeat of the season means Barca remain a point behind leaders Real Madrid having also played a game more than the European champions.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.