Barcelona could still win the domestic double again this season, but former Blaugrana midfielder Deco feels Ernesto Valverde is still under pressure because of the humiliating Champions League exit to Liverpool.
Valverde won LaLiga and the Copa del Rey in his first campaign last season and, after retaining the domestic title, his side will achieve a double-double if they beat Valencia in Saturday’s cup final.
Yet the Barca boss’ position still appears perilous because of the embarrassing way in which the club exited this year’s Champions League.
Despite holding a 3-0 advantage from the first leg against Liverpool, Barca were thrashed 4-0 in the return fixture of the semi-final at Anfield, leaving Deco uncertain over Valverde’s long-term future.
“I don’t know the future because [at] Barcelona there’s a lot of pressure,” said Deco, who was speaking to Omnisport courtesy of the UEFA Europa League Trophy Tour – Driven by Kia.
“When the competition starts one of my favourites to win was Liverpool because I knew they were strong, stronger than last season.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) May 16, 2019
“But they had problems in the beginning, the group phase, and then it’s getting better in the competition.
“Of course, after 3-0 in Camp Nou, no one could expect without two of the important players – [Mohamed] Salah and [Roberto] Firmino – that Liverpool could do that.
“It was difficult for Barcelona because it was a very tough defeat – a loss against Liverpool, 4-0, is not normal.”
Deco played for Barca between 2004 and 2008, winning two LaLiga titles and the Champions League in 2005-06.
He believes that the manner of the defeat to Liverpool would result in added scrutiny for any manager.
“I know in Barcelona there’s a lot of pressure, every year they need to win,” he added.
“I don’t know what’s happened. It’s difficult, not just for Valverde but every coach who would be there in that moment.”
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