Barcelona, Leagues, Spanish Primera División, Story, UEFA Champions League

With Actual Madrid eight factors off the tempo, the FC crew debate whether or not they have any likelihood to catch Barcelona in La Liga.
Lionel Messi offered a purpose and an help to guide Barcelona previous Athletic Bilbao on the San Mames.

Ernesto Valverde says outcomes on the weekend spotlight why Barcelona have received nothing but, regardless of extending their lead over Actual Madrid to eight factors.

Actual’s shock setback at Girona on Sunday leaves them on 20 factors, degree with metropolis rivals Atletico Madrid, who have been held at residence by Villarreal on the identical day.

Second-placed Valencia, in the meantime, have been reliant on a second-half penalty to see off backside aspect Alaves within the Basque Nation.

“We’re enjoying in a troublesome league,” Valverde mentioned in a information convention on Monday. “We needed to undergo to win at San Mames [against Athletic], Madrid misplaced at Girona, Atletico drew, Valencia are second they usually solely simply received at Alaves. Each level is price lots.

“It’s important to work actually laborious to win each sport. Everybody will slip up in some unspecified time in the future. This can be a weekend that has actually proven how laborious it’s to win on this league and that it is best to actually admire successful video games.”

Requested if he is now extra apprehensive about Valencia, who’re 4 factors behind Barca, than Madrid, Valverde added: “We’re apprehensive about all of them and none of them. After all, [Valencia] are instantly behind us, nevertheless it’s not a query of worrying. We solely fear about ourselves. We have to win our video games and never look over our shoulders.

“It is nonetheless early. These aren’t definitive distances. Actual and Atletico are our pure rivals, however Valencia are 4 factors again and having nice season… let’s not overlook Sevilla, both. We have to fear about all our opponents however most significantly cannot overlook ourselves.”

Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona are having fun with an eight-point lead over each Actual Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

With Saturday’s 2-Zero win towards Athletic, Barca secured their best-ever begin to a La Liga marketing campaign and have been in a position to calm down and watch Girona’s win over Madrid at Montilivi.

“I am not going to deceive you, I noticed the sport and it was a terrific end result,” ahead Gerard Deulofeu mentioned. “However we simply concentrate on ourselves, that is the one approach.

“The nice factor is that we’re doing nicely and we’re stuffed with confidence. If direct opponents are dropping factors, even higher, however out precedence is ourselves.”

Deulofeu, who returned to the membership from Everton in the summertime, has discovered his ft within the final month, scoring two targets in his final two appearances, however he says there’s extra to return forward of Tuesday’s Champions League match towards Olympiakos.

“There’s much more to be seen of me,” he added. “That is simply the beginning. I’m enjoying nicely and within the three or 4 video games I’ve performed in lately I’ve felt far more comfy.

“I’ve to be myself as a result of I need to be right here for a very long time and be a hit at Barca. I have to be aggressive on the wing and I have to get on the market and do what coach needs of me. Hopefully, I get one other likelihood [on Tuesday].”

Barca, who will probably be with out the injured Andres Iniesta and the suspended Gerard Pique, might safe their place within the round-of-16 with a win towards the Greek aspect on what will probably be an emotional evening for Valverde.

“It is actually thrilling to return again to Athens, to this stadium, as a result of meant a lot to me,” he mentioned of his return to Olympiakos, a membership he coached on two events earlier in his profession.

“I’m wanting ahead to the sport in each sense. It is an necessary sport; we might even qualify for the following spherical. However it’s additionally an necessary sport for Olympiakos. And to return again to a membership I used to be at for thus a few years is clearly extraordinary emotional for me.”

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Observe him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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