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Valverde praises ‘defensive’ Olympiacos

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has discusses his side’s failure to get past Olympiacos on Tuesday evening.

Valverde’s side failed to get past a stern Greek defender on Tuesday evening, despite Luis Suarez hitting the crossbar and Lionel Messi coming close.

“We tried to get to our opponents’ goal through possession, but they did a great job defensively and tried to surprise us on the counterattack, spurred on by their fans,” he said after the game to reporters.

“We had chances to win and qualify, but it wasn’t be and we have to keep going. We have one game less. We only lacked a goal against an inferior team on paper, but we’ve taken a step forward, even if it’s not the one we wanted.

“We’re satisfied but not entirely so. The problem with your opponents dropping so deep is that you can only push on gradually and they can also gain momentum. The most difficult part of football is having to play against such withdrawn defences.

“Tribute from Olympiakos fans? It touched me. They were very generous with me, They always behaved very well and had a lot of patience for me. It was exciting for me to come back here.”

Barca now have one foot in the last-32 of the Champions League, having remained unbeaten in their opening four group games.

The Catalan side will now prepare to face Sevilla on the weekend, hoping to maintain their lead at the top of the La Liga table.

One sour note for the La Liga leaders was Sergi Roberto, who suffered a hamstring tear.

The Spanish international started the game before pulling up around the 35th minute and being replaced by winger Gerard Deulofeu.

A statement on Barca’s official website explained that the youngster had torn his hamstring and will undergo further tests on Wednesday to determine the full extent and length of time unavailable.

Further reports suggest that the 25-year-old will miss around 4-5 weeks of action, meaning he will miss the most of November and December.

Valverde will now look to utilise summer signing Nelson Semedo or reserve Aleix Vidal in the right back role.

Semedo, who arrived from Benfica this summer has been impressive when given the chance, whilst Vidal has found playing time hard to come by and is expected to leave in January.

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