Ernesto Valverde: Barcelona won’t stick with 3-4-3

Ernesto Valverde insists Barcelona will not stick with the 3-4-3 formation they used during Sunday’s 5-0 demolition of Levante in La Liga.

A late injury to Nelson Semedo forced Valverde to shuffle his pack for the trip to Levante, switching to a back three in the absence of a recognised right-back, although the change paid off as Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick.

“Last season we conceded five after going the whole year without losing,” Valverde said after the game.

“We knew about the danger posed by Levante, who are having a great season, and it was a game that we had marked out.

“We were able to move forward and I’m especially satisfied. Going with three at the back was a solution that I’d considered when Sergi Roberto got injured.

“We have more options on the left as we have lads who can come in from the B team, but we don’t on the right and ultimately I chose to go with a back three.

“Nelson picked up his problem in the morning and we had little time. We aren’t fully used to playing with a back three, but we ended up controlling the game.

“A system like this one seems to fit and everything appears more symmetrical, but it’s not so simple.

“I don’t like changing system. I prefer to give more confidence to what we’ve been doing. They started well and hit the woodwork.

“At first we found it tough, but it was normal. We knew we’d lack depth with Pique in a back three, plus Dembele had the defensive task of covering his flank.

“We struggled for fluency at first, but we gradually got our game going and became strong.

“Messi makes us tick in every game. Everything goes through him and he gives clarity to our game.

“He scores golazos and gives assists. We’re lucky to have him and enjoy him. As for Suarez, he played against Espanyol and is perfect.

“We sometimes have to be a little careful with him, but right now he’s fine.”

Tags Ernesto Valverde