“Looking back is useless,” said Valverde.
“We need to get things back up and running and get the fans behind us and try and get the two titles still open to us this season that we have not yet won either,” said Valverde, who must pick up his players ahead of their Liga tie with Valencia Saturday.
“It was a major disappointment,” he said of the upset at Rome’s Olympic Stadium.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 13, 2018
“We’ve all been affected and we need to get the ball rolling again,” said the Barcelona boss, who took up his post last summer.
Valverde said he felt he still had the backing of the club management despite the upset, compounded by the sight of bitter rivals Real Madrid edging towards a third straight Champions League title.
“I would like the repercussions to be positive, as it was in the pre-season when it seemed the world would fall in (after Neymar left for Paris Saint-Germain),” said Valverde.
“We put new batteries in and got on with the job.”
“We need ten more points to win the title and we can’t stay at home crying because we lost one match. We need to win tomorrow so that we only need seven more points to be champions.”
The Blaugrana are unbeaten in the league so far, and will look to go past Real Sociedad’s record of 38 consecutive league games without defeat, as they now focus on domestic titles.
Among those who missed out of the squad were Ivan Rakitic, who sustained a finger injury in the game against Roma, Lucas Digne, Aleix Vidal and Yerry Mina.
Speaking ahead of the game, Valverde said, “I am expecting the same Valencia as always. They are in the middle of a great run with a system that is bringing great success. They are having an excellent season.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 13, 2018
Barcelona host Valencia on Saturday in their first game since they crashed out of the Champions League in midweek. The shocking nature of that 3-0 loss to Roma has soured the mood at the Nou Camp, even though they return to La Liga action with a chance to make history.
If they avoid defeat, the Blaugrana will have gone unbeaten for 39 games – a new La Liga record.
Here are three talking points ahead of Saturday’s game.
HOW DEMORALISED ARE BARCA?
The critics have been out in full force since Barcelona’s shocking collapse in Rome. Relinquishing a three-goal lead was an unfathomable failure for everyone involved with the club and Spanish football – not least the media, where the reaction was equal parts glee among the Madrid press and horror in Barcelona.
Players usually trot out lines about how they avoid paying too much attention to the media, but it’s hard to imagine that the reaction hasn’t permeated the Catalan side’s camp. Even if it hasn’t, there’s the obvious fact the players themselves will still be digesting the three-goal loss, possibly still going through a period of disbelief.
All things considered, it’s hardly the best mood in which to be approaching a game like Saturday’s, against an intense Valencia side ready to pounce on any weaknesses. Ernesto Valverde has a job on his hands to get his side out of the doldrums.
Barça's dressing room deeply annoyed with Valverde for the setup vs Roma last night. Trouble brewing... Here's hoping it doesn't affect the league and cup final.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) April 11, 2018
INVINCIBLES A WORTHY GOAL
Amid all the doom and gloom of their European exit – all of which is fair and understandable, given the value the Champions League holds for all of Europe’s leading clubs – Barcelona can still accomplish something special this season.
No team has ever gone a full season unbeaten in a 20-team La Liga, and failure in Europe won’t diminish that. After all, Arsenal were dumped out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals during their famous Invincibles season, same as Barcelona, and Juventus weren’t even in Europe when they went unbeaten in Serie A in 2011-12.
Would it have been even better if Barcelona could have clubbed together an unbeaten season with a third treble? Of course. Does that make an unbeaten season any less of an accomplishment? No. Valverde and Barca deserve criticism for the manner of their Champions League exit, but becoming Spain’s first Invincibles would still be historic.
Barcelona have equalled the record for most consecutive LaLiga games unbeaten.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 7, 2018
38 games without defeat. 🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/1fGvrwgVuE
VALENCIA’S STRONG SEASON NEEDS EXCLAMATION POINT
Valencia are a creditable third in the table at the moment, and could even finish an impressive second. What their season has lacked is one signature result, a statement win that says, “we are here.”
They’ve come close – they had the lead against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu this season before drawing 2-2, and similarly saw a 1-0 lead slip against Barcelona in the reverse fixture. So far however, the only results that would qualify are their wins over Sevilla, and the Andalusians’ poor form this season takes the sheen off of those victories.
They’re more or less guaranteed of a top-four finish, which is a stunning turnaround in fortunes given how low the club had fallen in recent years, battling relegation two seasons in a row. Now that they’re back whey they belong in the top four, on Saturday, they can tie a bow on their season.