Ernesto Valverde hailed Lionel Messi for putting on a ‘show’ after his brace in Barcelona’s 5-0 hammering of Real Betis on Sunday.
“When we win, I’m happy, but especially today,” the Coach said after the game.
“They made it difficult for us to come out, while causing us problems. In the second half, we thought it was a question of patience and insistence.
“We had to force them into making a mistake, and then as they opened up more, more goals went in.
“They played with a back three, with two proper wide men and both Tello and Joaquin inside.
“At first, they surprised us a bit. I don’t think they got deflated, but when you press high up permanently, you eventually get your fruits.
“League boring? Not for us. Our objective is to win the maximum number of matches possible and not speculate.
“There are 18 games left, and every game we win makes our lead that bit bigger because we’re in the second round and there’s less left of the season.
“The best quality of my team is that we’re very committed to what we’re doing, sticking together for the good and bad.
“If we have to take a step up, we’ll do it, and the same applies if we have to take one back.
“Messi I won’t start applauding his moves because I’m the Coach, but what Messi did here… he put on a show.
“I hope everyone enjoyed it, whichever team they support. He’s the best player I’ve ever seen. It’s a pleasure to have him here.
“Rakitic? He’s crucial. He can help us in various positions, but he’s is key to balance the team. He’s priceless.
“Fabian Ruiz of Betis? He’s a good player. I saw him get really stuck in, pressing well. This is his first season in La Liga and he’s been one of its surprise packages.
“Deulofeu? I don’t know what’ll happen with him.”