Ernesto Valverde admitted his future would come in for fresh scrutiny after Barcelona’s dramatic defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana semi-final.
Goals from Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann looked set to send Barcelona into the final, as they recovered from conceding a Koke strike in the opening 20 seconds of the second half.
But Barcelona folded in the closing 10 minutes, and a penalty from Alvaro Morata was followed by a winner from Angel Correa as Atletico, second best for almost all of the match up to then, snatched a remarkable win.
It left Diego Simeone, Atletico’s hard-taskmaster coach, jumping for joy on the touchline, while Valverde was left to reflect on a damaging defeat.
He has been repairing a reputation that took a battering with Barcelona’s 4-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League semi-finals last term, when the Reds overturned a 3-0 first-leg deficit.
But this meek surrender will not help, and Valverde said afterwards, when asked about his position: “We know what football is like and there is always instability when you lose. We will talk about this, it is inevitable.
“But I’ll do my thing, which is coaching.”
He added: “Of course, it was a match which we dominated. It seemed we had it in hand. It was a complete performance except in specific moments”
Thanks for coming out to support the team, Barça fans! pic.twitter.com/008gi9TOsX
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 9, 2020
Valverde said Atletico throwing their quickest players forward in the closing stages “surprised” Barcelona.
“I don’t think it was an accumulation of situations, but two actions that cost us dearly,” he said.
He said it had been an “intense” match and that Barcelona’s two disallowed goals in the second half, both after VAR reviews, had given Atletico the lifeline upon which they capitalised.
Simeone sent on Marcos Llorente for the final 18 minutes and felt he made a difference in midfield.
“From there the team looked better. It seemed that if we equalised we would win,” Simeone said.
“With the best teams like Barca, Madrid, [Manchester] City … they are on a higher level and we have to be patient. We have to play a final now.”
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