Football La Liga

Valverde: Barcelona are happy with the progress to the next phase

Malcom’s goal just two minutes after entering the pitch put Barcelona into a relaxed position with regards to qualifying for the next stage of the Champions League, and Ernesto Valverde maintained that despite failing to hold onto the victory, he was happy with their progression.

Mauro Icardi, formerly of Barcelona, came back to haunt his old club with a late equaliser which keeps Luciano Spalletti‘s side in control of their own Champions League destiny.

“We wanted to close out our lead, we did everything possible, but we’re happy because we managed to qualify,” he explained in his post-match press conference.

“We played a great game, the quality of Internazionale is that they know how to handle themselves very well.

“They have earned many points in the last moments of matches.”

Lionel Messi‘s absence through a fractured arm continued on Tuesday evening, although he has returned to training.

“We didn’t want to take a risk with Leo,” he admitted.

“We were careful in training, but we knew that today’s match would be like how it was.”

Internazionale‘s defensive organisation was strong in both matches against the Blaugrana, and Valverde was very complimentary towards the Italian giants.

“They have a clear strategy, which is to always attack and be aggressive with their pressing,” he confirmed.

“In the first match we didn’t give many chances away and we didn’t today either.

“I don’t know what route Internazionale or us will have after tonight, but of course they are a team to consider, they have the DNA of never giving in and they will take that spirit into the Tottenham match.”

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