Ernesto Valverde soothed by Barcelona's improved Champions League record on the road

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Messi scored and set up the other goal in Barca's 2-1 win.

Ernesto Valverde is soothed by Barcelona‘s record on the road in the Champions League this season after they guaranteed top spot in Group B with a 2-1 win at PSV Eindhoven.

Barca struggled away from the Camp Nou in Europe last term, scoring just once in three group stage matches and surrendering a 4-1 lead against Roma on a dreadful night at the Stadio Olimpico to exit at the quarter-final stage.

But they put four goals past Tottenham at Wembley last month and second-half strikes from Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique proved enough for all three points at the Philips Stadion, despite Luuk De Jong setting up a tense finale.

In truth Barca rode their luck as Gaston Pereiro, De Jong and Denzel Dumfries were all denied by the frame of the goal in the opening 45 minutes, but Valverde is pleased with their progress.

The Barca head coach said in quotes on his club’s official website: “We’re so happy to have mathematically topped the group.

“Considering how much we have struggled away from home in recent years and found it hard to score goals, I’m especially pleased to have got two wins and a draw this year.

Pique made it 2-0.

Pique made it 2-0.

“PSV played well. They were very lively on the counter-attack and the balls we lost meant they were able to get into dangerous positions and even hit the woodwork a few times.

“It was a hard place to play at. But the more the game progressed the more chances we were able to create.”

Messi, as he has been for much of the last decade, was the architect of Barca’s latest success, opening the scoring with his 106th Champions League goal – the most by any player at one club in the competition.

The Argentinian, who bagged a hat-trick in the corresponding fixture at the Camp Nou in September, then provided the assist for Pique to instinctively divert into the net.

“We have fulfilled the goal of being the first in a very complicated group with great teams. We are very much content,” the Barcelona captain said.

On his latest record, he added: “I’m very happy, I just found out now. I’m very happy about this new statistic.”

PSV manager and former Barcelona midfielder Mark Van Bommel could not disguise his disappointment at an opportunity lost for the Dutch champions, who will finish bottom of the group.

He said: “You do not always get what you deserve. I’m badly disappointed.

“The best part is that everyone stood up and clapped after the last whistle. That says enough about the performance of the boys.

“We gave everything, had a good idea, a good way of playing and created so many opportunities. It is only once again the confirmation that we can very well keep up with these teams.”

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Live Barcelona Blog: Van Bommel not buying Barca 'crisis' talk

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Hola Blaugrana fans. And welcome to Wednesday’s Barcelona blog.

The Sport360 team will be here throughout the day, bringing you the latest Barcelona news, views and gossip.

Get in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook.

9:00am – Van Bommel not buying Barca ‘crisis’ talk

PSV Eindhoven coach Mark van Bommel knows his side have their work cut out, despite Barcelona’s problems.

The two sides face each other in a Champions League Group B clash on Wednesday night in Eindhoven.

He told a press conference: “Barcelona’s results have not been what you might normally expect this season, but it’s not like they are in crisis.” Read Van Bommel’s pre-match quotes in full here.

Mark van Bommel.

Mark van Bommel.

8:30am – Vidal believes all Dembele needs is love

Arturo Vidal believes his Barcelona team-mate Ousmane Dembele “needs love”.

The 21-year-old France forward is reportedly unhappy at the Camp Nou, but scored a late equaliser to earn Barca a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

“Ousmane needs love,” said Vidal, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash at PSV Eindhoven. Read his quotes in full here.

Ousmane Dembele.

Ousmane Dembele.

8:00am – Victory the primary objective for Valverde

Barcelona go into the Champions League clash against PSV Eindhoven with a host of injuries but nothing less than victory remains the objective for Ernesto Valverde.

Barca have failed to win any of their last three matches, with the Atletico draw the sixth La Liga clash in which they have dropped points out of 13 games.

Read what the Barcelona coach had to say ahead of the clash here.

Ernesto Valverde.

Ernesto Valverde.

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Victory is Barcelona's main objective against PSV amid injury issues

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Barcelona go into the Champions League clash against PSV Eindhoven with a host of injuries but nothing less than victory remains the objective for head coach Ernesto Valverde.

Barca have failed to win any of their last three matches, with the Atletico draw the sixth La Liga clash in which they have dropped points out of 13 games.

Although their league form has been indifferent by their standards, in the Champions League they have been as dominant as ever, becoming the first side to qualify for the knockout stages from a tough group after taking 10 points from four games.

Their previous results included a 4-0 win over PSV at the Nou Camp, with a hat-trick from Lionel Messi, and victory on Wednesday would see them clinch top spot.

“Our objective is to finish first, go out and win the game and win the group,” Valverde said.

Argentinian Messi is set to play at the Philips Stadion but Valverde has a number of injury problems to contend with.

Sergi Roberto, Rafinha, Arthur, Luis Suarez, Jasper Cillessen, Thomas Vermaelen and Sergi Samper have all stayed at home.

“Injuries occur all season long. We had to play the last two Champions League matches without Leo Messi,” Valverde added.

“We have Messi back, but we have other injuries. We have to play with who we have.

“There’s an explanation for everything. A lot of these players have come back injured from their national teams. Rafinha was an accident.

“We pay a heavy price for the players playing with the national teams. It’s not that we don’t want them to go, it’s just a fact of life.”

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