Lionel Messi consistency and other facts as Barcelona eye La Liga record with Valencia win

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After a shock exit from the Champions League at the hands of Roma, Barcelona will look to bounce back, as they face Valencia at home on Saturday.

Ernesto Valverde‘s men now have two competitions to focus on – La Liga and the Copa del Rey.

While the league is done and dusted according to some, Barca’s loss against Roma could trigger a series of bad results and bring it back to life.

Here we take a look at some interesting stats and facts as the hosts face worthy opponents in Valencia.

– Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 38 La Liga games (W31 D7) and they could set a new record of consecutive unbeaten games for any team (39).

– The Catalonian giant can equal the best unbeaten start of any team in La Liga history (31 – W24 D7), recorded by Real Sociedad in 1979/80 (32 – W17 D15).

– Valencia have won two of their last four league visits to Camp Nou (L2), scoring seven goals in these four games.

– Los Che have not lost any of their last nine league games (W8 D1), the second longest current unbeaten run in 2017/18, after Barcelona (W31 D7).

– Valencia have kept a clean sheet in their last two La Liga away games – the last time they recorded three in a row in the competition was in November 2009.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde

– Barcelona are the only La Liga team unbeaten after conceding the first goal of the game this season (W4 D5), earning 17 total points.

– Lionel Messi has scored 29 goals in La Liga this season and he could be the first ever player to reach 30+ goals in seven different campaigns.

– The Argentinean is the first player to score six direct free-kick goals in a La Liga season since Ronaldinho Gaucho in 2006/07 (six).

– Luis Suarez has scored nine goals against Valencia in all competitions, his joint-favourite opponent with Barcelona, alongside Betis.

– Rodrigo Moreno has won more points with his goals than any other player in La Liga this season (16 points with 15 goals).

– Marcelino Garcia Toral has never won against Barcelona in his managerial career in all competitions (D4 L13).

Statistics provided by Opta

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Under-fire Ernesto Valverde puts on a brave face as Barcelona prepare for Valencia's visit

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Valverde is putting on a brave front after the Champions League exit.

Barcelona are powering towards a record-breaking LaLiga title triumph yet manager Ernesto Valverde finds himself under fierce attack as the inquest into the club’s Champions League exit continues.

Victory over Valencia at the Nou Camp on Saturday would increase their unbeaten league run to 39 games, surpassing the previous highest mark set by Real Socieded 38 years ago, and propel them ever closer to a seventh crown in the last decade.

But despite sweeping all before them on the domestic front, Barcelona are reeling from the 3-0 surrender to Roma on Tuesday that saw them exit Europe on away goals and it is Valverde who is bearing the brunt of the fallout.

“I’m fine and this is not the worst moment of my career, for sure,” Valverde said in quotes reported by Marca.

“It’s obviously a bad moment, I’m not going to deny it, we’re all here to win games and when we lose we have to get together.

“I knew what it would be like when I signed a contract with the club. You have to stay strong when the defeats come. This does not surprise me, I knew it. It has happened to everyone and it happens to me.

“It’s been a long time since we had a defeat. We had one against Espanyol in January, but we turned that tie around. When you sign a contract with a club like Barca, that’s what you have to cope with.

Barcelona are unbeaten since 38 games in La Liga.

Barcelona are unbeaten since 38 games in La Liga.

“You have to show your face when you’ve lost games. I knew that when I came into the job. It hasn’t surprised me. It happened to other coaches before me and it’s going to happen to me again.”

Sergio Busquets could be involved as he nears recovery from a broken foot and he has been included in the squad for the visit of Valencia, but Ivan Rakitic has been ruled out by a broken finger.

“It’s a difficult moment in the season, maybe the most difficult since August,” said Valverde, whose team are also in the Copa del Rey final.

“We have lost and we are out of a competition that we were very excited about; we feel for ourselves and for the fans.

“In the end, what you want is for another game to come round.”

Valencia boss Marcelino Garcia Toral refuses to view Barcelona, whose talisman Lionel Messi is out of form, as vulnerable following their demise in Europe.

“We are heading there excited and with ambitions of our own, but what happened this week in the Champions League won’t have a negative effect on them,” he said.

“It is rare for Barcelona to lose two consecutive games. We are going to put in all that we can to try and get a result.”

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Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde says "looking back is useless" after Roma loss

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Barcelona need to put their painful Champions League exit to Roma behind them and concentrate on winning the Spanish league, their coach Ernesto Valverde said on Friday.

Lionel Messi and his teammates were dumped out of Europe after Roma beat them 3-0 Tuesday, but the Catalan giants remain 11 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid in La Liga.

“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.

“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.”

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