The Catalans have struggled to impress on a consistent basis so far in 2019-20 but their coach believes that some criticisms of his team are unfounded
Ernesto Valverde has called for perspective over Barcelona’s form, with his side top of LaLiga and on track to qualify for the next round of the Champions League.
Barca host Borussia Dortmund in Group F on Wednesday knowing a victory will be enough to book their progression, though they were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Slavia Prague earlier in the month.
While Barcelona have won seven of their past eight league games to sit clear of Real Madrid on goal difference, results such as a loss at Levante have raised questions over Valverde’s future.
Frenkie de Jong told reporters that “we’re not playing as badly as people think” and Valverde then agreed with the midfielder’s assessment when he appeared at a news conference.
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“Of course, when we don’t play well there are things we have to improve, but you need perspective,” Valverde said.
“We won at Leganes at the weekend, last year we lost. Other times we’ve won and not played well. We have to learn from the games where we don’t play well.
“That’s what this is about, we don’t need to jump off a cliff when we don’t play the way we want to. We’re first in La Liga, first in our Champions League group and we want to keep on this path.
“Playing well is getting a lot of scoring chances, you defend well, you attack well. We try to get the result we want through our play.
“We’ve had a lot of goals from set pieces, but we’ve been attacking to get into position to get those set pieces. All the other teams are trying to stop us and sometimes they do.”
Barca will be without Gerard Pique through suspension for Dortmund’s visit but Valverde is satisfied with his defensive options for the game, with Clement Lenglet potentially fit.
“I didn’t want to risk Lenglet the other day and we think he could be ready,” Valverde added.
“We know Pique is out and we also have Samuel Umtiti. [Jean-Clair] Todibo and [Ronald] Araujo are also possibilities.”
Araujo has only played 14 minutes in LaLiga this season but Valverde feels the 20-year-old has a bright future.
“He’s from the academy, he’s played with us and he wants to learn,” the coach said. “He’s serious and I think he can help us as he’s strong and quick.”