BARCELONA – FC Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde acknowledged on Monday that his team was coming into its first Champions League group-stage match on a high note, but he said the same can be said for its opponent, Juventus.
Barcelona has won its first three La Liga matches in convincing fashion, scoring nine goals and conceding none to top the league table, while six-time Serie A defending champion Juve has scored 10 goals and allowed just two in winning its first three contests of the new Italian-league season.
“Juve also has come out strong in its league,” Valverde said at press conference prior to Tuesday’s match at Camp Nou, his first Champions League contest as Barça’s coach.
Valverde, who recalled that the Italian club eliminated the Catalans in the quarterfinals of last season’s Champions League, said that Juventus was a very strong team defensively that looks to apply significant pressure aimed at stymieing its opponent’s attack.
He added that Juve has a “great coach and great players” like Argentine Paulo Dybala, but that what was most impressive was not any one star but its overall play as a team.
Valverde said his club would be looking to kick off its Champions League campaign with a victory, adding that starting the group stage with a win always “means a lot.”