Ernesto Valverde

BARCELONA boss Ernesto Valverde has admitted he was “disappointed” for one reason after his side’s 5-1 demolition of Real Madrid.

Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick in the Clasico on Sunday as Barca showed no signs of missing talisman Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp.

The win – which puts Barca a point clear at the top of the La Liga table and seven ahead of Real Madrid – was so emphatic that it resulted in Julen Lopetegui’s sacking the following day.

But Valverde has admitted the win – which continues an improved recent run – does not make his position safe.

The manager’s future in Catalonia was questioned after a poor run last month saw them draw at home to Girona and Athletic Bilbao and lose away to bottom-placed Leganes.

But since beating Tottenham 4-2 away from home in the Champions League, Barca have won three of their last four – even despite captain Messi going off injured early on into a win over rivals Sevilla 11 days ago.

Beating Sevilla – who were then top of the league – and Real Madrid has put the Blaugrana in a much healthier position in the league table, but Valverde does not feel his future is any more secure.

Ernesto Valverde

“I’m exactly the same as a week ago and the previous one, people are happier and that makes everything more calm,” he said.

“Though I’m disappointed because I thought I was going to have super powers now, but no.”

Barca face Cultural Leonesa in the first leg of their Copa del Rey round of 32 clash tonight  (8.30pm UK time) with wholesale changes expected against the third-tier outfit.

And Valverde has warned his side not to be complacent as they look to maintain their winning streak in a competition they have won in all of the last four seasons.

No team has ever won the competition five times on the spin.

“We are expecting a rival who will try to play well, taking the ball from behind,” Valverde continued.

“They can count on the enthusiasm of the crowd, and it’s a difficult game for us in that sense.

“The opponent has a lot to win, it’s a massive game for them.

“We need to avoid surprises and play a good game because our opponents will be playing at 200 per-cent.

“We’ll be using some players that don’t get to play as much and there are high hopes pinned on them.”

And while the Barca boss is delighted with how his side have responded to a rough patch, he insists they have to keep it up – with Rayo Vallecano to come in the league on Saturday evening (7:45pm).

“[I am] More than proud, we are happy with how things have gone, with the dynamics which were difficult,” he added.

“We will look for that feeling of confidence in the cup, and on Saturday we play a match in which we have to continue the good work done up until now.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *