Barcelona, Leagues, Spanish Primera División, Story


ESPN FC’s Steve Nicol points the finger at Ernesto Valverde for Barcelona’s unbeaten streak coming to an unexpected end against Levante.
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has expressed his disappointment with a 5-4 loss to Levante that ended their unbeaten run in La Liga on Sunday. 
The ESPN FC panel discuss the manner in which Barca’s 43-match unbeaten streak in La Liga came to end, without Lionel Messi on the team sheet.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has expressed his displeasure that the club’s success does not receive the credit it deserves.

Coach Ernesto Valverde has steered Barca to a third domestic Double in four years, with the La Liga title wrapped up with four games to spare.

However, the Champions League defeat to Roma and a loss to Levante on Sunday that ended the La Liga champions’ hopes of completing the season unbeaten have put a damper on the campaign.

“When we win, we know that some people from outside the club always try to discredit us,” Bartomeu said at a news conference on Wednesday.

“Sometimes they speak about referees, guards of honour, they exaggerate controversies. But I assure you that the football world really values what we have done this season.”

The president stressed how successful Barca have been during the last decade, highlighting the silverware they have won under a number of different coaches.

“Barca win leagues,” he said. “We win Doubles. We have tried to keep away from all that [noise] and do our jobs. Since 2005, we have won 32 titles.

“Overall, the season has been a nine [out of 10]. We broke the record [of 43] games unbeaten in La Liga and we won the Double. I want to highlight the value and importance of this Double, the eighth in the club’s history.

“And we’ve won the best league in the world by a big difference — our seventh [league] title in the last 10 years. So, it’s been an excellent campaign.”

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is pleased with what the club have accomplished this season.

Barca’s success was not foreseen in August when they lost Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain and were dismantled by Real Madrid over two legs in the Spanish Super Cup.

“I would like to look at the past: a year ago, we had to manage the loss of Neymar, the Super Cup defeat and Valverde was just starting a new project,” Bartomeu said. “Valverde has gained everyone’s confidence. He’s had a great season. I would like to recognise the work he has done with the team.

“As for the Champions League elimination, I would like to look at the team’s response. They got over that defeat, reacted and were able to win the Double.”

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.





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