BARCELONA – FC Barcelona Ernesto Valverde stressed on Friday that his team needed to claim victories again in La Liga after two draws in the most recent matches, underscoring at the same time that winning trophies was the way to keep his job.
Although the Catalan club is still atop the La Liga standings, the gap with its historical rival Real Madrid has been narrowed to six points, as Barcelona was held to two draws in a row during its last Spanish league matches against Valencia (2-2) and Athletic Bilbao (0-0).
“We start a sequence of games in which we play in three competitions. We want to win again in La Liga,” Valverde said in a press conference on the eve of Saturday’s Barcelona-Real Valladolid match.
The Spanish coach referred to his team’s 1-1 home tie with Madrid in the Copa del Rey semifinals’ first leg played on Feb. 6 at the Camp Nou.
Barça is set to host Valladolid on Saturday, but the team will then have to hit the road again for four difficult encounters in a row, starting with the UEFA Champions League last-16 tie against Olympique Lyonnais on Tuesday and then playing Sevilla in La Liga four days later.
After Sevilla, Barcelona is to square off against Madrid twice at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. The first clash corresponds to the second leg of the Spanish Cup semifinals scheduled for Feb. 27, and the other for the La Liga matchday 26 on March 2.
“We are going through moments when everything is decided and we have to be alert for all the details in these matches, including tomorrow’s,” Valverde stressed.
Meanwhile, the coach expressed his hopes that France defender Samuel Umtiti would be available shortly to him after recovering from his knee injury because he was an important player for the team.
Although Valverde had signed a one-year contract extension earlier in the day, he confirmed that he, as a coach of a big club like Barcelona, would have to earn titles to be able to remain as the first team’s head coach.
“At the moment of signing a contract, the intentions of the clubs and the coaches are always the best,” Valverde said. “But in the end, we all know what soccer is like and everything is judged based on the results.”