Ernesto Valverde: 'So far so good'

Ernesto Valverde: 'So far so good'

Speaking to the club media, the FC Barcelona manager describes the importance of being the Liga front-runners and being in the last 16 of the Champions League

As 2019 gives way to 2020, Ernesto Valverde has spoken exclusively to the club media. The FC Barcelona coach looks back at the highs and lows of the year just ending, and also looks ahead to the year to come.

Here are some of the highlights from our two-part interview:

The season so far

“We have been achieving our targets this season. We wanted to go into the New Year feeling that we have got the job done with a view towards the decisive part of the season.”

Highlight of 2019

“There have been so many this year. I’d go for the league title. But there have been some big setbacks too. We always want the next year to be even better.”

El tècnic culer amb el títol de Lliga 2018/19

Challenges for 2020

 “Winning every game. You are always going to need a little bit of luck, but we’ll try to get fortune to tip our way and we’ll do everything we can to make that happen.”

La Liga 2019/20

“We didn’t start well, but we’ve gradually been getting better. We’re top of the table, but there’s still a long way to go.” 

“This year is tighter than other years. It’s harder to win games. Next year we need to be more on top of certain key moments, and we especially need to be careful not to leak two goals in a matter of minutes.”

The Clásico

“It was a very tight match, very hard to get our game going. That’s what these games are traditionally like, but we broke from tradition last year and won 5-1. Madrid always play well at Camp Nou. They always give you a difficult game.”

The Champions League

“We have met the same target that we always set ourselves in the group stage. It might look easy to do what we did, but it isn’t. The fact that we qualified for the second round with a game in hand is something I value very highly indeed.”

“San Paolo has a really imposing atmosphere. Napoli are a team that generates respect.”

Previous league titles

“We won the last two leagues by a considerable margin, and that is something I view as a major success.”

“La Liga is usually much tighter with very little distance between teams. So, the way we won the last two leagues was not the normal way things happen. When it happens more than once, people start thinking that’s the norm.”

Last year’s league

“Atlético at Camp Nou was the decisive game last season. Those were three essential points to prevent the title from slipping away.”

“We won 4-2 at Sevilla, and 3-0 at Madrid in the cup and 1-0 in the league. Those were all key games. It was an incredible week. We were unsteady at Madrid in the cup and didn’t find our game until the second half. And that carried across into the league game, which we walked.”

UCL and Copa del Rey

“Until Liverpool we were having an incredible Champions League. At Anfield, we had chances but they scored early on and psychologically we started worrying that what happened in Rome might happen again. There was a moment of weakness and we paid for it. It was one of the toughest moments of the year.”

“We must admit that the hit we took in Liverpool meant our morale was down going into the cup final. If we’d won against Liverpool, we’d have won the cup final too.”

Barça B

“I think the team’s getting better and better. It’s looking more and more settled. Players like Riqui Puig, Collado and Araujo are making good progress.”

Barça Women

“They’re in constant growth. The fact the Barça women’s team are doing so well is encouraging girls to start playing in our youth system and that will nourish the Barça women’s team in the future.”

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