Valverde hails ‘enormous advantage’ Messi gives Barcelona



Posted Sunday, December 22, 2019 by PA

Valverde hails ‘enormous advantage’ Messi gives Barcelona

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde hailed the influence of Lionel Messi after the Argentinian ensured his side would end the year on a high.

Messi struck his 50th goal of 2019 as Barca bounced back from two consecutive draws to ease past Alaves 4-1 and maintain their position at the top of La Liga.

Valverde told Spanish media: “It is an enormous advantage we have, when Leo appears and can get you a goal from anywhere.

“We’ve come from a very intense match on Wednesday and when you make it 2-0, it seems to be an important gap, but I don’t think so.

“In this game we were especially interested in not having any fright, [as we were] aware that Alaves could hurt us.

“We are leaving [2019] with a good feeling, because we know [the league] is long.”

Their victory also ensured Barcelona finished the year unbeaten at the Nou Camp and Valverde is looking forward to a rest before the campaign resumes at city rivals Espanyol in the new year.

Valverde added: “We have had a very intense month. In the end, not only this week in the games against Real [Sociedad] and against Madrid.

“We come from playing against Atletico, against Dortmund. It has been a month where we have all wanted to have a good holiday.”

Coming just three days after their tepid El Clasico draw with Real Madrid, French international Antoine Griezmann – who opened the scoring for his side – admitted weariness was evident.

Griezmann said: “We played three days ago and the legs are somewhat tired, but we had a good game.

“It was a pity to concede that goal, but I didn’t see it as a danger. Then steps us the best player in the world.

“We have a great squad and with the best players and when the team needs a push, he [Messi] is there.”

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