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Jan 20, 2014

Fabregas: Frustration due to scoreline

Cesc Fabregas has said his frustrated reaction when substituted during Barcelona's 1-1 La Liga draw at Levante on Sunday was down to the scoreline rather than coach Gerardo Martino's decision to take him off.

• Ledwith: Madrid duo closing in
• Tomas: Summer transfer tasks

With Lionel Messi back in the starting lineup, Fabregas began the game in midfield but was withdrawn on 72 minutes as Martino sent on youngster Sergi Roberto with Barca looking for a winner.

Fabregas has now been substituted in six of the last eight games he has started for Barca, and looked unhappy as he trudged from the pitch and banged the dugout roof with his fist.

But speaking to reporters after the game, he said his reaction had been solely due to the match situation. "I was upset because of the match, not because I was being subbed. I felt good and we were creating chances. It was the frustration you get when you get into the area but the ball just doesn't want to go in.

"We could have played better in the first half, but in the second we dominated. We controlled the game -- we were a bit unlucky."

Barca conceded another set-piece goal when Levante's Loukas Vyntra headed in early on. Gerard Pique equalised soon afterwards, but the visitors were unable to find a winner, with keeper Keylor Navas in inspired form.

Martino told his post-match news conference he did not feel a second successive league draw was a cause for concern, explaining: "It was not our day in front of goal. It is not worrying for the future if we understand that at the start [of the season] we won without playing very well. Now it is the contrary.

"The result is a bit negative, because this is not what we came here to play for. But I would be worried if we had regressed in our play, because that would lessen our chance of winning the league. This game does not worry me because, out of ten, we win nine times."

Messi, who has been unstoppable in Copa del Rey games since his return from injury, was unable to find a way past Costa Rica international Navas as Barca upped the tempo in the second half.

He told the club's official website: "We did everything possible to win, but they closed themselves off at the back and they didn't give us any space.

"It is a difficult stadium to play in, but we tried. We did enough to deserve the win -- we just lacked a bit of luck."

Barca, who beat Levante 7-0 in their first La Liga meeting of the season in August, return to the Ciutat de Valencia ground for a Copa del Rey quarterfinal first leg this week, and Messi said: "I think Levante will play the same way on Wednesday."

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