Ernesto Valverde insisted there has been enough talk about his future ahead of Barcelona's Copa del Rey final against Valencia.

Barca can complete a second consecutive double under Valverde by defeating Valencia in Seville on Saturday, but pressure has built on the head coach since their latest Champions League collapse away at Liverpool.

Having let a 4-1 first-leg lead slip in the quarter-finals against Roma last year, the Blaugrana saw a 3-0 advantage overturned by Jurgen Klopp's side in the last four this season.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu has offered Valverde his backing, though, while captain Lionel Messi also spoke out in support of the coach on Friday.

Valverde concedes he must accept some responsibility for a defeat that has overshadowed their success this season, but he is keen to set the topic aside until after the final.

"I do not think too much about my future," he told a news conference. "The only thing that worries me is to win [against Valencia]. Every day is a battle.

"If you look around the coaches in LaLiga, we are part of the show. We all get ups and downs. You only have to see what happened to [Valencia coach] Marcelino, who had a moment, or [Real] Madrid changing coach.

"I do not know about Leo Messi defending me. We are all aware that, when there is an elimination, we must all take responsibility, the players, the coaches, all of us. We are hurt, but we have to look forwards and face the consequences again.

"I do not feel any more pressure. Why would I? I've always said that the club respects my work and it's always been like that. I have no complaints from the president or the board."

Pushed further on the issue, Valverde told reporters he had provided all the answers required on his future.

Meanwhile, the coach was expecting Nelson Semedo and Arthur to train ahead of the final and was hopeful on the fitness of Philippe Coutinho.

Valverde insisted he knew nothing in relation to the report the final will be Jasper Cillessen's last match for the club amid reported interest from Benfica.

Barcelona could still win the domestic double again this season, but former Blaugrana midfielder Deco feels Ernesto Valverde is still under pressure because of the humiliating Champions League exit to Liverpool.

Valverde won LaLiga and the Copa del Rey in his first campaign last season and, after retaining the domestic title, his side will achieve a double-double if they beat Valencia in Saturday's cup final.

Yet the Barca boss' position still appears perilous because of the embarrassing way in which the club exited this year's Champions League.

Despite holding a 3-0 advantage from the first leg against Liverpool, Barca were thrashed 4-0 in the return fixture of the semi-final at Anfield, leaving Deco uncertain over Valverde's long-term future.

"I don't know the future because [at] Barcelona there's a lot of pressure," said Deco, who was speaking to Omnisport courtesy of the UEFA Europa League Trophy Tour - Driven by Kia.

"When the competition starts one of my favourites to win was Liverpool because I knew they were strong, stronger than last season.

"But they had problems in the beginning, the group phase, and then it's getting better in the competition.

"Of course, after 3-0 in Camp Nou, no one could expect without two of the important players – [Mohamed] Salah and [Roberto] Firmino – that Liverpool could do that.

"It was difficult for Barcelona because it was a very tough defeat – a loss against Liverpool, 4-0, is not normal."

Deco played for Barca between 2004 and 2008, winning two LaLiga titles and the Champions League in 2005-06.

He believes that the manner of the defeat to Liverpool would result in added scrutiny for any manager.

"I know in Barcelona there's a lot of pressure, every year they need to win," he added.

"I don't know what's happened. It's difficult, not just for Valverde but every coach who would be there in that moment."

Antoine Griezmann's decision to turn down a move to Barcelona last year "hurt" the club, according to Xavi.

Griezmann was strongly linked with signing for Barca after the 2017-18 season but he eventually announced in a televised documentary he would stay at Atletico Madrid.

However, after Barca held off Atleti to defend their LaLiga crown, France forward Griezmann confirmed his intention to leave the Madrid club after five years.

Barca are reportedly again front-runners for his signature, though head coach Ernesto Valverde has refused to discuss how Griezmann could fit into a forward line with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

And Xavi, who won eight LaLiga titles at Barca and made his last professional appearance for Al-Sadd before hanging up his boots this week, hinted there may be leftover bad feeling at Camp Nou over Griezmann's previous rejection of a move.

"I understand it hurt what he did last summer," Xavi said to Sport. "If the reason for the rejection [from Barca players] was only a footballing issue, I'd speak with the dressing room to make them see he's a player who can bring something.

"We have to see, however, who is signing him? The sporting director? Valverde? The president? If I came to Barca I would ask for the signings, and if the dressing room doesn't agree with any of them I'd speak with them, but in the end I decide. Be it Griezmann or whoever.

"Another thing would be if the coach doesn't want him either. Then we have a problem."

Barca have given Valverde their backing despite their latest Champions League disappointment, with Xavi making his ambitions to coach at Camp Nou clear.

"If one day I come back to Barcelona it's all a consequence of knowing that I will be judged," he added.

"Everyone wants to be at a big team. It would be more comfortable to go to a second division club but I'm competitive and I like big challenges.

"I know what will come, I will go bald or my hair will turn white, but it is what it is."

Messi made it clear the Champions League was Barca's top priority in 2018-19 but he was unable to add to the four European titles he has won at the club.

"That's more than a few, we only had one before," Messi's former team-mate Xavi said. "We were able to win more but it's hard to win the Champions League.

"[Pep] Guardiola's Barca were better than the rest of the teams and we only won two of four. Chelsea and Inter knocked us out. But be calm, Messi's not finished yet.

"We always talk about the post-Messi era, but Leo has three or four good years left. At the top level, like now, because he looks after himself, he's incredibly professional, he's physically strong, a beast mentally. He's the number one at everything."

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde is not optimistic about having Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele available for the Copa del Rey final.

LaLiga champions Barca face Valencia in the May 25 showpiece, hoping to end the season with a domestic double.

But Coutinho and Dembele appear to be in serious danger of missing the game, having sat out Sunday's 2-2 draw away to Eibar in Barca's final league fixture of the season.

Coutinho suffered a hamstring strain in the 2-0 win over Getafe on May 12, while Dembele sustained a similar issue at the start of the month.

They may now miss the Copa final, though Valverde does expect to have goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen back after a minor knee injury.

"We've got a few issues in certain positions and we're going to see if we can get a few players back," the coach told reporters in his post-match news conference.

"Ter Stegen will certainly be available. Coutinho, I don't know and Dembele is looking unlikely. Let's see about Arthur.

"He's had a problem for two to three months and he needed a break. It could have happened a month or so ago, but it's happened now. I don't know if he'll be available."

Barca lost Nelson Semedo to a head injury at Ipurua and the Portuguese full-back was taken to hospital, but Valverde is hopeful he will be completely fine.

"I don't have any news about Nelson," Valverde added. "We hope it's only a precaution for the knock."

Ernesto Valverde described Antoine Griezmann as "a great player" but was unable to confirm whether he would be joining Barcelona, despite Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain distancing themselves from the World Cup-winning forward.

Griezmann announced his decision to leave Atletico Madrid in a video posted on his social media accounts on Tuesday, thanking the club's supporters for "five incredible years".

He has been linked with a transfer to Camp Nou for over a year, opting to sign a new five-year contract at the Wanda Metropolitano before the start of the 2018-19 season rather than pursue a move at that time.

With the 28-year-old set to switch allegiances, and both City's Pep Guardiola and PSG's Thomas Tuchel saying they would not be signing him, Valverde was asked whether he would be looking to add Griezmann to his squad for next season.

"We always say the same – he's a player at a different club," Valverde told a news conference.

"Who knows? He's a great player, I've never denied that. Are you going to ask every coach in football if they want him? Is that your plan?"

When asked what role Griezmann might play in his Blaugrana team, Valverde responded: "If he came you would see.

"We're talking about an assumption, a player who might come, who could be here. I'm not going to talk about his position."

Barcelona clinched the LaLiga title with three games to spare and their clash with Eibar on Sunday is of relatively low significance to both sides.

But Valverde insisted he will name a strong side to ensure his players' match fitness does not wane ahead of the Copa del Rey final against Valencia six days later and deflected further questions about transfer targets, preferring to focus on his aim of winning the double.

Asked if he had new players in his sights, he replied: "I don't know, that's an internal club matter. There are other parties involved who might have an opinion.

"The club's idea is to make the best team we can, taking into account our strengths and weaknesses. Right now we've got a final to think about. We could win the double this year.

"It has been an extraordinary season – things were broken a lot by the way we went out of the Champions League, but we won the Super Cup, the league with three games in hand. We've got the cup final to come."

He added a word of reassurance over Lionel Messi, who was short of his best in Barcelona's 2-0 win over Getafe five days after their Champions League elimination at the hands of Liverpool, who overturned a 3-0 first leg deficit on a dramatic night at Anfield.

"When you lose a game the way we did [in Liverpool] that does hit you very hard," admitted Valverde.

"Leo [Messi] is fine, better every day. The days after going out of the Champions League you find it difficult – they are not a team that is used to losing.

"But they are looking forward to the cup final, Leo as much as anyone else."

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."

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde says he can learn from Pep Guardiola after Manchester City retained the Premier League title.

City's 4-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion, their 14th straight league victory, held off the challenge from Liverpool by a single point.

Guardiola's side therefore became the first in a decade to successfully defend their crown, while they can complete a domestic clean sweep – never previously achieved in English football – if they beat Watford at Wembley in Saturday's FA Cup final.

City and Barcelona both suffered Champions League disappointment this season, with Valverde's side humiliated at the hands of Liverpool after taking a 3-0 lead in the semi-final.

And although Valverde can win a LaLiga and Copa del Rey double for the second season running, he feels former Barca boss Guardiola is an example to follow.

"He has done something amazing, not just because of what he is doing and winning the Premier League, but what he has been doing for so long," Valverde said after Barca beat Champions League hopefuls Getafe on Sunday.

"For me, and I said it back in the day, he's the best manager in the world and you can learn things from him every single day.

"He has all my congratulations and he still has the possibility of winning another title with his team. We all like him here."

Barca go into the final weekend of the season 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid, but their latest Champions League exit will cloud the campaign.

Ivan Rakitic was criticised in the wake of their 4-0 Anfield loss after he was pictured at a festival in Seville with his family following the semi-final second leg.

"I have no problem asking for forgiveness," said Rakitic. "I'm a father and husband and the family is the most important thing.

"I went to Seville to see my family. I'm very open and they asked me for a photo, but on the pitch I give 100 per cent and I want the best for the club."

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde insisted he had not considered resigning in the wake of his side's Champions League exit.

The LaLiga champions were thrashed 4-0 by Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday to make a semi-final exit 4-3 on aggregate.

The humiliating defeat led to scrutiny over Valverde's position, despite Barca winning LaLiga and the Supercopa de Espana this season while also reaching the Copa del Rey final, where Valencia await on May 25.

Asked after Barca's 2-0 win over Getafe on Sunday if he had thought about resigning, Valverde said: "Well, no."

Barca fans targeted their players at Camp Nou, with Philippe Coutinho and Sergio Busquets among those subjected to whistles.

Valverde, who agreed to a contract extension until the end of 2019-20 in February, was unsurprised by the crowd's response and said it was only natural after their Champions League exit.

"I expected that at the beginning they would whistle. How are they not going to whistle us? It is normal," he said.

"But I knew that they would then position themselves with us.

"And there seems to be noise but people are from your team and I'm grateful."

Barca wrap up their LaLiga campaign at Eibar on Sunday before taking on Valencia in the Copa del Rey final.

Ernesto Valverde admitted Barcelona's defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League left a bad taste in Lionel Messi's mouth, but he felt the Blaugrana's 2-0 win over Getafe on Sunday helped his players "get rid of the ghosts in our heads".

Arturo Vidal scored in the first half and Messi had a hand in Barcelona's second goal as Mauro Arambarri put through his own net in the 89th minute to extend the champions' lead at the top of LaLiga with one game left to play this season.

Valverde admitted that bouncing back from a 4-0 defeat at Anfield, which resulted in a 4-3 aggregate semi-final defeat to Liverpool, would take time but backed his players to return to form in time for the Copa del Rey final against Valencia on May 25.

"For us, a victory was essential to get rid of the ghosts in our heads," Valverde told reporters after the win over Getafe.

"Everyone will bounce back, although at the beginning it's hard. We have the Copa del Rey final in mind.

"Messi is making an effort to overcome the bad taste in his mouth. We all had high hopes to be in the Champions League final and we have to move forward."

Valverde substituted Philippe Coutinho 20 minutes from time during one of his better recent performances for the club, and it was later revealed the midfielder would likely be out for up to 10 days with a hamstring injury.

The Brazil international was subjected to whistles from Barcelona supporters following his poor display in midweek, but Valverde said the receptions he has received at Camp Nou have not all been negative.

"I did not speak with Coutinho," said Valverde.

"They have whistled him, but they have also have applauded him. The best thing is to help the players."

Ernesto Valverde insists he has the full support of the Barcelona board, even though the aftermath of the shock defeat to Liverpool has left him feeling like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape.

The Catalans suffered a humiliating 4-0 loss at Anfield on Tuesday, which sent them crashing out of the Champions League semi-finals 4-3 on aggregate.

Their 3-0 lead from the first leg had put them in a commanding position, but, as they did in the quarter-final with Roma last season, Barca collapsed in the return fixture to see their treble challenge come to an end.

The result has led to serious questions about Valverde's future as head coach, despite him guiding Barca to the LaLiga title and a Copa del Rey final with Valencia.

The former Athletic Bilbao boss has compared trying to forget the Liverpool game to McQueen's character's persistent efforts to escape a Nazi prisoner of war camp in the famous 1963 film, but made it clear he does not feel his position is under threat.

"Yes, as always," he told a news conference on Saturday when asked if he had president Josep Maria Bartomeu's support. "I spoke with the president and I have always felt supported by the club. There's a lot of talk when there's a blow like that. Everyone staggers."

When asked how he feels on a personal level, Valverde replied: "It's like in the film The Great Escape, with Steve McQueen. They catch him every time he tries to escape. I feel the same - it's like they throw me back in the cell every time I try to forget.

"But I want to play the game against Getafe [on Sunday]. You don't stop thinking about what happened and why it happened.

"I feel I have the strength to continue. I'm okay, and I want to take a step forward, not hide under a stone."

Valverde admits it will be a challenge to lift his players for the league match with Champions League-chasing Getafe at Camp Nou given the manner of their loss in England.

"I've not seen the game, but I have it clearly in my mind," he said. "We knew we had to start strong and not concede, and we conceded, but we regrouped. In the second half, the two goals knocked us down onto the canvas. We tried to recover and then an absurd goal happened.

"We're hurting, I won't deny it. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to our fans. We can lose a tie, a semi-final with Liverpool, because they are a great team. The problem is how we lost, as we allowed a comeback from such a favourable position.

"It's hard. It seems like the legs are a little heavier now. What was flowing before now looks different. We have to overcome that."

"I don't know how this affects my future," said Ernesto Valverde. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu suggested he was too "hot" to discuss a change.

Heading into Tuesday's Champions League semi-final second leg against Liverpool, Valverde and Barca stood on the brink of an incredible treble, his status set to be boosted.

A title in LaLiga was wrapped up and the Blaugrana led a weakened Reds side 3-0 after the semi-final first leg, while the Copa del Rey final against Valencia is still to come.

But another collapse on Europe's biggest stage - a second in two years - might well change everything.

Where Valverde was previously closing on a place alongside Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique in Barca's modern history, his job now appears less than certain.

Did domestic success and Lionel Messi's brilliance disguise underlying issues? There are a few reasons why Valverde may be under pressure...



The big one. Barcelona watched Real Madrid collect the Champions League trophy in four of the past five years heading into this season and there was a determination within the club, vocalised by Messi, to put that right.

The cards fell for the Catalan giants, too, meeting Lyon and a back-pedalling Manchester United in the knockout stages. Elsewhere, Ajax took care of Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus.

While Liverpool were perhaps the toughest opponent left in the competition, they were trailing 3-0 and without Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah by the time they got back to Anfield. But once the goals started going in - as at Roma last season - Valverde did not appear to have a solution, extending Barca's barren European run to four years.


Valverde was slightly unfortunate to arrive at Camp Nou as Neymar departed, while Andres Iniesta was soon winding down his esteemed Barca career, too. Without two players that could thrill any crowd, the team's style of play has suffered.

The Blaugrana have exciting, brilliant players in attack, but they no longer dictate the match in quite the same way as they did under Guardiola or even Luis Enrique. Each prior European opponent this season appeared to believe they were in with a chance of springing an upset before being undone by Messi or Luis Suarez.

Yet when the result does not come, as it did not on Tuesday, the justification of Valverde's tactics is slightly tougher. The notion that this Barca team are solid at the back was put to bed by Divock Origi of all people.


Barca have been criticised for their recruitment since losing Neymar, yet Valverde must surely shoulder some of the blame for failing to get the best out of Ousmane Dembele, Malcom or Philippe Coutinho, players that almost any other club would love to have.

The woes of those signings and the increasingly inconsistent form of Suarez leaves Barca dependent on Messi. He rescued them from a hole in the first leg against Liverpool.

There are worse players to be reliant on than one of the greatest of all time, but Messi is now 31 and the Barca team around him appears to be getting worse. Although Valverde has done well to utilise his captain so effectively, Messi is always likely to deliver. The Blaugrana might wonder if another coach could get the rest of the squad firing.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu was unwilling to discuss the future of head coach Ernesto Valverde after their Champions League semi-final defeat.

The LaLiga champions were crushed 4-0 by Liverpool in the second leg at Anfield on Tuesday, incredibly bowing out 4-3 on aggregate.

Valverde is sure to come under fire despite winning back-to-back LaLiga titles, having also seen his team give up a lead against Roma in the quarter-finals last season.

But Bartomeu said it was not the time to discuss Valverde's future, with Barca able to add another trophy this season when they face Valencia in the Copa del Rey final on May 25.

"We are now very hot because of the elimination," he told Movistar+.

"Now, we have to raise our spirits because there is a final of the Copa del Rey to play in.

"They will be difficult days for everyone, but we have to get up."

Braces from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum led Liverpool – without star forwards Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino – to their win.

It came just over a year after Barca suffered a 3-0 loss in the second leg against Roma, giving up their 4-1 advantage.

"There will be time to reflect and explain," Bartomeu said. "There is a Copa del Rey to play in three weeks.

"Last year, in Rome, the same thing happened, difficult to explain. We will do it internally. Now, it's time to play the Copa del Rey, lift the mood and apologise to all fans of Barca."

An apologetic Ernesto Valverde offered no excuses after Barcelona's stunning Champions League semi-final loss to Liverpool on Tuesday.

The LaLiga champions suffered an incredible 4-0 loss at Anfield, bowing out 4-3 on aggregate after conceding three goals in the second half.

Valverde, whose team gave up a 4-1 first-leg lead against Roma in the quarter-finals last season, refused to make excuses after the extraordinary exit.

"They started very aggressive, very high – what we expected. They made the first goal but we managed to settle in," he told a news conference.

"In the first half, we had options to score. The second goal hurt us because the third one followed.

"Well, very aggressive and we don't change the possibilities. The score is huge, but if you lose 4-0 there are no excuses. They were better and you have to accept it."

Braces from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum saw a Liverpool side missing injured pair Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino to their win.

Valverde is sure to come under fire after another European failure despite leading the club to back-to-back league titles.

Asked for his message to the fans, he said: "We are very sorry.

"Everything we do and everything we play is always to please the fans, so that they are proud of the players.

"In this football, what happens is that everyone expects to win always and there are times when we lose.

"When we lose, we have had to do it painfully. We have not lost until now and we are out. In this story, we are all together."

Doubles from Divock Origi and substitute Georginio Wijnaldum fired Liverpool into their second consecutive Champions League final as Barcelona collapsed to an improbable 4-0 humiliation at Anfield.

Facing a daunting 3-0 deficit, Origi made light of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino's absence from the Liverpool forward line by poaching a seventh-minute opener.

Jurgen Klopp's side kept the contest at a pace frenetic enough that Barcelona were rarely allowed to settle and Wijnaldum's quickfire brace before the hour had the locals in raptures.

It was a night for unlikely heroes and Trent Alexander-Arnold's quickly taken corner allowed Origi to smash high into the net 11 minutes from time – inflicting a humbling upon LaLiga champions Barca and the great Lionel Messi even more punishing than their surrender at Roma in last season's quarter-final.

Barcelona star Luis Suarez believes Mohamed Salah will be a "big miss" for Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final second leg.

Salah and Roberto Firmino have been ruled out in a huge blow to Jurgen Klopp's men, who host the return leg at Anfield on Tuesday trailing 3-0 on aggregate.

While Firmino is sidelined with a muscle injury, Salah suffered a head knock during Liverpool's Premier League win over Newcastle United on Saturday.

Suarez, who scored in the first leg at Camp Nou, said Salah's absence was a blow for Liverpool, but he warned his side of their opponents' depth.

"Salah is a very important player, has been in the top three in the world the last couple of years," he told a news conference.

"It's a big miss for them, but they have [Xherdan] Shaqiri, [Daniel] Sturridge, [Divock] Origi who are quality players and we have to be aware and careful."

While Liverpool continued their push domestically, Barcelona were able to rest players against Celta Vigo with the LaLiga title already secured.

But they still saw Ousmane Dembele suffer a hamstring injury, a setback lamented by coach Ernesto Valverde.

"Nobody wants injuries, it would be great if they can make a quick recovery and it's a shame they can't play [on Tuesday]," he said.

"We'll miss Dembele as he is a player who could have lapped up the spaces left by Liverpool at the back."

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