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Ernesto Valverde Urges Barcelona to 'Finish the Job' in La Liga After Atleti Win

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 06: Ernesto Valverde, Manager of Barcelona looks on prior to the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 06, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has called on his team to "finish the job" in La Liga after they moved 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

The Blaugrana beat Atletico 2-0 at the Camp Nou after Diego Costa was sent off in the first half.

Per Sport's German Bona, Valverde said of the victory:

"Three fundamental points, a really important result; we're closer but there's still a long way to go. You have to finish the job. It's true it was a fundamental game and these three points could mean a lot at the end of the season. We're happy because of the opponent we were facing, [Atletico] are an enormous team that have fought until the end with 10 men."Β 

Here's the state of play in La Liga following Barcelona's win:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

πŸ” @FCBarcelona πŸ” #LaLigaSantander https://t.co/qh6soM4IJB

Costa was given a red card after he angrily confronted referee Gil Manzano shortly before the half-hour mark.

Barca struggled to capitalise on their advantage as they came up against Jan Oblak in fine form, but Luis Suarez eventually broke the deadlock with a superb curling strike into the bottom corner on 85 minutes.

Lionel Messi made it 2-0 just a minute later with his 33rd league goal of the campaign as the Blaugrana hit Atleti on the break immediately after the restart.

As ESPN's Dermot Corrigan observed, Messi's brilliance has helped Barca become a dominant force in the Spanish top flight:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Barcelona now almost sure to win eight of eleven La Liga titles since Messi turned 20 is just fantastic.

David Cartlidge of the same outlet has been impressed with Barcelona's resilience under Valverde:

David Cartlidge @davidjaca

Barcelona last lost a LaLiga game in November (two all season), Copa del Rey in January (but went through regardless) and unbeaten in the Champions League. Yet people say they're not at a top level. Maybe they're not, but that makes it all the more impressive really.

Had Atletico won on Saturday, the gap would have been cut to five points and the Catalan giants would have been under some pressure after collecting just one point from two matches, following their 4-4 draw with Villarreal on Tuesday.

The title is all but theirs following the victory, though.

They'll travel to bottom-of-the-table Huesca in their next domestic outing, where they'll look to take another step closer to the title. Even if they were to slip up, their points cushion would still be significant.Β  Β 

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