Valverde delighted with Barcelona’s response in Wembley thriller
PUBLISHED: 14:00 04 October 2018
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The 54-year-old Spaniard was pleased to see his team come through as winners of a Champions League epic
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde talked up the importance of his team’s 4-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium last night.
After three games without a victory, the Catalan giants responded in fine fashion and were led by talismanic figure Lionel Messi.
The Argentinean superstar scored twice, hit the same post on two occasions and was central to first-half goals from Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic.
Spurs hit back, however, through Harry Kane and Erik Lamela, and pushed Barca all the way in the second period, but the La Liga champions held firm to move joint-top of Group B in the Champions League after two matches.
Valverde said: “It is true after a few bad results it was very, very important to do well and we responded very well when our rival was near us.
“Our response was very strong and effective and it is true the game was very intense and there were many changes to the scoreboard.
“It could have easily gone 0-3 or 1-2 and when the game was 2-3, Tottenham made it very, very difficult for us, but this is the Champions League and these points are very important for us.”
The former Espanyol boss, who coincidentally ended Mauricio Pochettino’s playing career by dropping the Argentinean which led to his retirement in the summer of 2006, was delighted with the way Barcelona dominated under the Wembley arch.
In the first half, they were sharper than Spurs, but the second period was a different story and the visitors had to hold firm to claim the points.
“Well, we want to always dominate the match and we did. It was a great game, but a difficult stage against a difficult team,” Valverde said.
“There were a few problems for us during the game, but we solved them and we want to continue like this.”
Barcelona’s Wembley triumph puts them in control of Group B ahead of an upcoming double-header with Inter Milan, who also have a 100 per cent record.
Ahead of facing Spurs, Valverde’s team knew the importance of the clash, he said: “I am very happy with the players and I hope the fans are very happy too.
“We knew it was a very difficult group and this game was key for us because it is Wembley and it is Tottenham and I am very happy and I hope the fans are too.”