?Ernesto Valverde admitted that his side were not at their best on Saturday but insisted that Barcelona will soon return to top form after the Blaugrana beat Real Valladolid 1-0 in La Liga.
Barca struggled to find fluidity in their play and lacked their usual cutting edge in attack, though a Lionel Messi penalty in the first half was enough to ensure that the champions returned to winning ways, after drawing 0-0 away to Athletic Bilbao last weekend.
After Saturday’s game, Valverde claimed that ?Barca’s slight dip in form will not last long. As quoted by ?Marca, the Spaniard said: “In the first half, we had very little fluidity in attack and did not move the ball with the necessary speed.
“They changed their system and we were not fluent and could not circulate things quickly but their goalkeeper did well.
“Some games are won like that, though, and Tuesday [against Lyon] will be another challenge for us.
“I see the team as being ready to give their best now and get back to that.
“Sometimes you won’t be brilliant in every game but there are four important matches coming up and we will go step by step.”
Valverde made a number of changes to his starting XI against Valladolid, with the likes of Kevin-Prince Boateng, Carlos Alena and Thomas Vermaelen coming into the side in place of ?Luis Suarez, ?Ivan Rakitic and Clement Lenglet, ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash.
?? Lionel Messi’s record this season:
? 30 Games
? 30 Goals
? 17 Assists
?? Missed 5 games due to injury.
??? Named 5th in Ballon d’Or.
? One of a kind. pic.twitter.com/yrqUOyMXZS
— SPORF (@Sporf) February 16, 2019
Boateng in particular struggled to make an impact and was replaced by Suarez early in the second half, but Valverde defended the January signing’s efforts in the game.
“Boateng came to us at a difficult time of the season and that can be tough to do when you haven’t been participating regularly and don’t know the mechanisms of the team,” Valverde added.
By renewing Ernesto Valverde’s contract we are guaranteeing the continuation of a coach and person who so excellently represents the FC Barcelona values and our way of understanding football. We’re sharing a winning project for Barça pic.twitter.com/wAaGeorjW5
— Josep Maria Bartomeu (@jmbartomeu) February 15, 2019
“He has helped us through and will do so even more.”