Athletic Club fell to a frustrating defeat against Barcelona on Sunday night, with a goal disallowed in the final minutes of the match. Manager Ernesto Valverde was highly annoyed by that decision, but dismissed the idea that Barcelona had any advantage due to the referees, and certainly not while he was there.
Ahead of the match, Valverde was asked by Diario AS about Athletic Club fans’ intention to protest against Barcelona over El Caso Negreira.
“People are free to express themselves as they see fit, but we focus on what happens on the pitch, which is what we want to control. There are many things.”
Blue and red fake bank notes with ‘Mafia’ written on them rained down from the stands during the 30th minute. Following the match, Valverde was asked what he thought of his own fans questioning one of the La Liga titles (2017-18) that he won with Barcelona.
“If when I won the league with Barca it was because of Negreira? We won it by 14 points over the second-place team and the Cup final was 5-0. There is no doubt who was the best team that season.”
#frac1 | 📢 Valverde: "Si quan vaig guanyar la lliga amb el Barça era per Negreira? La vam guanyar per 14 punts de diferència sobre el segon i la final de Copa va ser un 5-0. No hi ha dubte de quin va ser el millor equip aquella temporada"
— El Barça juga a RAC1 (@FCBRAC1) March 12, 2023
‘El Txingurri’ shocked the league in his first season at Barcelona, losing Neymar Junior, and instead mounting a title charge with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez back up by Paulinho. Valverde’s record in La Liga was exemplary with the Blaugrana.