Valverde receives Barcelona backing despite Champions League collapse

By Sports Desk May 16, 2019

Ernesto Valverde will remain Barcelona's head coach for 2019-20, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed.

Valverde will lead Barca to a second consecutive domestic double if his side beat Valencia in the final of the Copa del Rey, having already clinched the LaLiga title.

But despite extending his contract until the end of next season in February, Valverde's future has been questioned after Barca's Champions League exit.

They beat Liverpool 3-0 at home in the first leg of the semi-final but spectacularly collapsed at Anfield, losing 4-0.

Valverde's Barca crashed out in similar circumstances last year with a 3-0 defeat to Roma in the quarter-final second leg.

Although former player Ronald Koeman and Ajax coach Erik ten Hag have been linked to the club, Bartomeu is backing Valverde.

"The planning for next season is already underway, and has been for some time," he told reporters on Thursday.

"Some players have already signed, and we'll keep having talks after the [Copa] final.

"Valverde said the other day that he has the support of the president and the board. He's the coach we want. We're halfway through a large project.

"He has a contract and we're very happy with him. Now it's about how the players recover from the enormous setback."

Bartomeu insisted Valverde's position will not be under threat if Barca lose to Valencia in Seville on May 25.

"It [the final] isn't the deciding factor," Bartomeu said. "The main objective is the league and then we want the Copa or the Champions League. It's been a magnificent season; we've won LaLiga with games to spare. We all want more.

"Now we've got the Copa final and we're coming off the back of a damaging defeat. Now it's about recuperating the support, the excitement, the will to compete and we've still got a week of training left."

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