Ernesto Valverde 'Not Thinking of Resigning' After Barcelona's Defeat to Levante

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IINovember 2, 2019

VALENCIA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 02: Ernesto Valverde, head coach of FC Barcelona reacts during the Liga match between Levante UD  and FC Barcelona at Ciutat de Valencia on November 02, 2019 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said on Saturday he is "not thinking of resigning" after seeing his side slip to their third La Liga defeat of the season against Levante.

Valverde was asked in his post-match press conference if he was surprised by his team's display or was considering quitting and made his feelings quite clear.

"No to both of those questions. I'm not thinking of resigning – only looking forward. Everything just collapsed. We didn't start the second half well and we weren't creating any danger.

"Then, although they weren't causing us too many problems, they put two goals past us in two minutes. The third goal after that really punished us. Our opponents play against us as if it's the biggest game of the year and so you need to be able to respond.

"We know what this result means and what it means to win at these grounds. You need to make a massive effort, but my team is used to that. They had a great second half and managed to beat us. We have to analyse what happened and ask ourselves why it did."

Saturday's result will see Valverde come under pressure. Barcelona took the lead in the match from a Lionel Messi penalty but conceded three goals in seven second-half minutes to slip to defeat.

ESPN FC noted how Barcelona have often struggled at Levante under Valverde:


It hasn’t been pretty for Barcelona when they play Levante away. https://t.co/R5YhGjAa67

The Catalan giants remain a formidable force at home but have struggled on their travels in recent seasons. They have been beaten at Athletic Bilbao and Granada and drew 2-2 at Osasuna so far in 2019-20.

Ben Hayward at the Evening Standard said the team can be bullied away from home:

Ben Hayward @bghayward

Three defeats for Barça in La Liga this season, all away. Looked like Messi might save them, but his strike was ruled out. Feeling remains that FCB can be bullied on the road and without that midfield control, the trend seems set to continue. #LevanteBarça

Valverde's worst defeats as Barcelona boss have come on the road. The Catalan giants have thrown away three-goal leads at Roma and Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League under Valverde's stewardship which seems to have had a lasting effect on the players.

Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen told 11 Freunde magazine (h/t Sport's Joan Tura) that the two defeats were not down to "tactical questions" but to "psychological issues" which seem to be an ongoing problem.

Squawka's Muhammad Butt said Valverde is not good enough for Barcelona:

Muhammad Butt @muhammadbutt

I know no one wants to be "that guy," but Ernesto Valverde is quite simply not good enough. the way he sets Barcelona up, particularly away from home, is quite simply abysmal.

Valverde has won La Liga twice and lifted the Copa del Rey since replacing Luis Enrique in the Barcelona hot seat in 2017 but is unpopular with large sections of the club's support because of his dour playing style.

Barcelona's next two games before the international break are both at home, which may offer Valverde some respite in the short term. The club face Slavia Prague in the Champions League on Tuesday and then host Celta Vigo in La Liga on Saturday.


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