‘Barca criticism part of the territory’

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde accepts criticism is ‘part of the territory’ but denies Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique asked him to explain Roma’s comeback.

It had been reported the pair pressed Valverde after Barca threw away a 4-1 lead in their Champions League quarter-final tie with Roma, but Valverde made it clear his team were only thinking about showing a reaction against Valencia on Sunday.

“It’s the most difficult month after August,” the Coach said at a Press conference.

“We have to plug ourselves in again, plug our fans in and win the trophies we’re still up for. We can’t keep losing.

“Messi? He’s feeling like everyone else. We’re all hurt, but we want the ball to get rolling again. We know there’s a free bar for people to talk about anything in any way they deem fit.

“Did he and Pique ask for explanations? I don’t have anything to say about that because there was nothing from them.

“When I signed my contract, I already knew it would be like this. It’s part of the territory. It’s been nine months and there’s been criticism because we have to put up with it.

“Of course you can draw many conclusions from defeats. It’s when you learn the most. Sometimes wins drive you forward and give you confidence, but they overlook things.

“We must review our ability to react. We’re 10 points away from becoming champions, but we’re not champions yet.

“What we can’t do is stay indoors and whinge because we lost a game. Winning on Saturday would leave us seven points away from the title – something we wouldn’t have believed a while back.

“The fans’ reaction at Camp Nou will be based on how many turn up. Valencia are having a great season and have nothing to lose.”

Valverde was also asked about the anger of Juventus’ players after Real Madrid were awarded a last-gasp penalty on Wednesday to reach the Champions League semi-finals.

“I suppose we’d have reacted the same, but I don’t want to say if it was more or less of a penalty,” he concluded.

Tags Ernesto Valverde Gerard Pique Lionel Messi Roma
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