Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Valverde: Unbeaten season motivates Barcelona

SoccerNews in La Liga 16 Apr 2018

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Ernesto Valverde says Barcelona are motivated by the chance to make LaLiga history by going unbeaten for a whole season, but the coach wants to wrap up the title first.

Barcelona can take another step towards reclaiming the league from rivals Real Madrid when they travel to Celta Vigo on Tuesday, the Catalans already enjoying an 11-point cushion from Atletico Madrid.

Although Barca suffered a shock loss to Roma in the Champions League quarter-finals, surrendering a three-goal lead from the first leg, Valverde’s men face Sevilla in Saturday’s Copa del Rey final, having broken the record for the longest unbeaten LaLiga run last time out against Valencia.

And Valverde cautioned that while a domestic double is in sight in his first season at the club, Barcelona could yet end the campaign without any honours at all.

“Our main objective is to win the league,” Valverde told reporters on Monday. “It would be very nice to do it without losing a game but we know it is so difficult that nobody has ever done it.

“It’s a chance for us but if we are more worried about going undefeated than winning the league then that is not good.

“It is a motivation, of course, but winning two titles is a motivation. Right now we have not won anything, but tomorrow we can take a step forward.”

With Madrid enduring a torrid title defence, sitting 15 points off the summit, Barcelona have mostly been unchallenged as they cruise towards the LaLiga crown.

But Valverde accepts Barca’s surprise European exit at the hands of Serie A side Roma will be a black mark on the season as a whole.

“I know losses hurt at a club like this,” Valverde added. “Getting knocked out in Europe or losing league and cup games, I know what this means.

“But you know ahead of time that when you lose things it will not look good, but you don’t want to get used to doing that. The Roma loss was painful, it hurt, but this is normal at clubs like this that people feel that way.

“It comes with the territory. We got knocked out of the Champions League. If the second-placed team was a point behind us maybe people would care more about the league.

“We have had a sizeable advantage for most of the season and maybe people think it looks too easy. But we haven’t won the league yet. If we do, we will look back and reflect in the proper way.”

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