Valverde insists he can deal with criticism of Barcelona’s Champions League exit
Barcelona are reeling from the 3-0 surrender to Roma on Tuesday that saw them exit Europe on away goals.
Barcelona are powering towards a record-breaking LaLiga title triumph yet manager Ernesto Valverde finds himself under fierce attack as the inquest into the club’s Champions League exit continues.
Victory over Valencia at the Nou Camp on Saturday would increase their unbeaten league run to 39 games, surpassing the previous highest mark set by Real Socieded 38 years ago, and propel them ever closer to a seventh crown in the last decade.
But despite sweeping all before them on the domestic front, Barcelona are reeling from the 3-0 surrender to Roma on Tuesday that saw them exit Europe on away goals and it is Valverde who is bearing the brunt of the fallout.
“I’m fine and this is not the worst moment of my career, for sure,” Valverde said in quotes reported by Marca.
“It’s obviously a bad moment, I’m not going to deny it, we’re all here to win games and when we lose we have to get together.
“I knew what it would be like when I signed a contract with the club. You have to stay strong when the defeats come. This does not surprise me, I knew it. It has happened to everyone and it happens to me.
“It’s been a long time since we had a defeat. We had one against Espanyol in January, but we turned that tie around. When you sign a contract with a club like Barca, that’s what you have to cope with.
“You have to show your face when you’ve lost games. I knew that when I came into the job. It hasn’t surprised me. It happened to other coaches before me and it’s going to happen to me again.”
Sergio Busquets could be involved as he nears recovery from a broken foot and he has been included in the squad for the visit of Valencia, but Ivan Rakitic has been ruled out by a broken finger.
“It’s a difficult moment in the season, maybe the most difficult since August,” said Valverde, whose team are also in the Copa del Rey final.
“We have lost and we are out of a competition that we were very excited about; we feel for ourselves and for the fans.
“In the end, what you want is for another game to come round.”
Valencia boss Marcelino Garcia Toral refuses to view Barcelona, whose talisman Lionel Messi is out of form, as vulnerable following their demise in Europe.
“We are heading there excited and with ambitions of our own, but what happened this week in the Champions League won’t have a negative effect on them,” he said.
“It is rare for Barcelona to lose two consecutive games. We are going to put in all that we can to try and get a result.”