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Valverde unconcerned by La Liga record; pleased with Roma reaction

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has said he preferred to look at his side’s reaction to the defeat against Roma, instead of their record breaking result against Valencia on Saturday.

Ahead of second place, Atletico Madrid by 14 points, Barcelona broke a 38-year record set by Real Sociedad after goals by Luis Suarez and Samuel Umtiti in either half.

The last three fixtures between these two free scoring sides had not seen any goals in the first half, before a sumptuous through ball pass from Phillipe Coutinho released Uruguay striker Luis Suarez to tuck home and give Barca the lead on 15 minutes.

Barca made Valencia rue the chances they had missed during the second half, when Umtiti rose highest from a Coutinho corner to head past Neto at the start of the second half.

The away side were let back in to the game late on, as substitute winger, Ousmane Dembele bundled over Jose Gaya in the box. Captain and regular penalty taker, Dani Parejo made no mistakes from 12 yards out despite Ter Stegen guessing the right way.

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Despite some late Valencia pressure, Barcelona managed to create history and go 39 games without a defeat.

“I am an optimist,” he said to reporters after the game. “After a major defeat there is always a period of mourning, but the important thing is how you react, what do you do in the next game.

“This week was not one to think about records, really. We don’t give importance to those because with these players it’s normal to have records.”

Valverde was criticised for not rotating his team again, choosing to play Gerard Pique, Lionel Messi, Sergi Roberto and Sergio Busquets, who have all racked up the minutes of late – but the coach was happy with his decision.

“Any Barcelona player has the capacity to take responsibility for pulling the team along,” he continued. “Everyone is at a great level and it wasn’t a day to rest mentally.”

The results mean Barcelona will head to Celta Vigo in midweek, on the verge of claiming the league and put behind them a dramatic midweek which saw them crash out of the Champions League to Roma.

 

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