Ernesto Valverde favored what he noticed from his Barcelona gamers towards Olympiakos on Tuesday regardless of the actual fact they had been held to a goalless attract Greece.
Barca would have sealed their place within the Champions League knockout phases with a win on the Karaiskaki Stadium however a mixture of Silvio Proto saves, deep defending and the woodwork means they aren’t assured a last-16 spot but.
Nonetheless, they’re now unbeaten in 15 video games in all competitions — successful 13 of them — and solely want a draw at Juventus in November to make sure high spot within the group.
“I favored the way in which the group performed so much,” Valverde mentioned in his postgame information convention. “We lacked a little bit of effectivity, however we confirmed the spirit that you must have.
“Clearly our intention was to win and I feel we had the possibilities to take action, however Olympiakos had been nice in defence. We did not take our possibilities, however by no means thoughts.
“So we’re glad, however not blissful. Now we have now two video games forward of us and we are going to take a look at issues from a optimistic perspective. We’re in the identical place as earlier than and with a degree within the subsequent sport we are going to seal first place — that is what we are going to attempt to do.”
Midfielder Sergio Busquets was additionally upbeat regardless of seeing his facet’s 100 % file within the Champions League come to an finish.
“We tried all the things,” he advised TV3. “We had possibilities, we hit the woodwork… however generally this occurs. If we performed 100 video games like this, we would win 95.
“It may be troublesome when there are such a lot of gamers within the field. We simply must preserve working exhausting. We’re nonetheless in a privileged place [in the group].”
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez each spurned possibilities to win the sport in Athens, with the latter, who hit the bar within the second half, as soon as once more coming in for criticism for his efficiency.
“I just like the model of Luis Suarez we’re getting,” Valverde mentioned in defence of his striker, who’s managed simply three objectives in 13 appearances this season. “Generally a objective can rely upon a matter of centimetres.
“I’ll say it once more: what I like most about my gamers is that they are getting lots of possibilities as a result of that is signal. The success will come.”
The night time bought worse for Barcelona as they could possibly be with out Sergi Roberto for the following few weeks after he was compelled off with a hamstring pressure.
It was an emotional night for Valverde, who was returning to Olympiakos for the primary time since main them to a few Greek titles throughout two spells and three years in command of the membership.
Earlier than the sport there was an enormous banner displayed thanking him “for all the things” and he was introduced with a commemorative plaque on the pitch.
“These items all the time ring a bell,” he mentioned of the reception he was given. “The Greeks are very beneficiant folks; they all the time have been with me. That they had lots of persistence with me and it has been a very emotional event.
“I’ve all the time had this ambiance right here in my favour, however at the moment it was towards me! I understand how motivated the followers are right here for the Champions League — I’ve skilled it many instances.
“Perhaps it was a shock for those who got here from Barcelona, though everybody is aware of how intense it’s right here. It was extraordinary, the ambiance was nice.”