Valverde positive despite Barcelona’s dropped points at San Siro

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde

Inter wrestled back a point against a dominant Barcelona outfit in Milan, yet Ernesto Valverde focused on an impressive away display.

Ernesto Valverde had a positive outlook on Barcelona’s “complete match” at Inter, despite dropping points due to Mauro Icardi’s late equaliser.

Barca should have been out of sight by half-time but instead headed into the interval goalless, before finally breaking the deadlock through Malcom seven minutes from time.

But Inter rallied and snatched back a point through Icardi, leaving Valverde disappointed with the result but delighted with the performance as the Blaugrana reached the last 16.

“We deserved much more but what we remember is the performance of the team – it was a very complete match on our part,” he said.

“We put everything in to win and we leave a bit with the feeling that two points have escaped us. But we are going to be positive because we have reached the last 16 with two games remaining.

“We knew about the demands of this match, the difficulty of escaping their press and we did very well. Then we also squeezed and stole the ball in dangerous areas.

“We missed the goals. In the first half, we deserved to have the lead. Then we had it with Malcom’s goal but Inter never give up and they work well in the final minutes.”

Valverde reiterated that Lionel Messi’s absence, despite travelling with the team, was due to the coach’s reluctance to take a risk with his star man.

“We wanted the whole team to travel to train together, but in the end it was not the same training [Messi was involved in] as the calibre of this match, with that intensity,” he said.

“The decision has been simple: we preferred not to take risks. We’ve talked to him and he’s been clear.”

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