Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura acknowledged after last night's Primera Division clash at Valencia that his team were not as fresh as they have been in the past and accepted the draw was a fair result.
The Catalan club turned in a performance well below their usual high standards and were indebted to goalkeeper Victor Valdes for producing two superb saves to secure a point at the Mestalla.
Roura, overseeing first-team affairs with head coach Tito Vilanova still undergoing cancer treatment in New York, told www.fcbarcelona.com: "Valencia pressure you a lot and they don't let you play.
"Their intensity made it difficult for us to play our game and it was hard for us to get close to their area.
"Perhaps we didn't create a lot of chances and we weren't as fresh as we have been in the past.
"We came here with the intention of winning the three points but it's always difficult to win at Valencia. I think the draw, in general terms, is fair.
"We're coming off a very tough match away to Madrid and that, from a physical standpoint, always wears you down."
Barca battled out a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu last Wednesday in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final, and moved 16 points clear of the third-placed champions last night following the capital club's shock 1-0 defeat at Granada on Saturday.
Ever Banega opened the scoring for Los Che last night after 33 minutes, but their lead lasted just five minutes before Lionel Messi fired home from the penalty spot after Pedro had gone to ground in the area under the challenge of Joao Pereira.
Barca's former Valencia left-back Jordi Alba enjoyed his return to the Mestalla and felt the result could have gone either way.
"It was a very even match and either side could have won because both teams created chances," the 23-year-old Spain international said. "We were a bit tired because the cup match was very demanding.
"Valencia are very strong since (coach Ernesto) Valverde arrived at the club and I'm sure they will up in the table at the end of the season."
Valverde was pleased to see his sixth-placed team produce a much better display than they managed at home to Madrid on January 20, when they lost 5-0 at home to Jose Mourinho's men.
"The 0-5 was a tough time," he said. "But the team reacted well. We hoped that this would be a different story, and now we are getting there. That result was excessive. This was a different game, and the fans enjoyed it.
"We are pleased with this match. It was not an open encounter in the first half, but it was in the second and both teams looked capable of winning. We played a great game, although we regret not being able to win."