Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde says he has not had time to think about his future, but admitted that “horrible days” lie ahead after a “devastating” 4-0 loss and Champions League exit to Liverpool on Tuesday.
The Catalans took a 3-0 lead to Anfield after last week’s win at Camp Nou in the teams’ semi-final first leg, but the Blaugrana were beaten by a Liverpool side missing both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino as two goals apiece from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum sealed a historic victory.
“I don’t know how this affects my future,” Valverde said afterwards. “We haven’t had time to think about those things. But here we are and the coach has to take responsibility.”
The 55-year-old also conceded that it would be difficult to pick up his players after the loss.
“With a collapse of this nature, we will have a few horrible days ahead,” he said. “Then we have to come out of it with time. Ahead of us we have league games to play, the Copa (del Rey) final to play. Right now we are devastated.”
Barca’s loss is a repeat of their Champions League exit in last season’s quarter-finals when they threw away a 4-1 first-leg lead with a 3-0 defeat away to Roma and crashed out on away goals.
“The most painful thing is to repeat [what happened in Rome],” he said. “It happened last season and it has happened again.
“It was a different game (to last year). Liverpool had a brilliant start, we concede the first goal quickly but we reacted well and had chances to score. We got into their box in dangerous positions but we didn’t take those chances. When you lose 4-0 you can’t have any excuses. They were better than us and we have to accept it.”
And the Barca boss was left to rue mistakes that gave Liverpool hope of an improbable comeback.
“We kept feeding their confidence,” he said. “The second and third goals were the boost they needed to keep going. The changes helped us a bit after the third goal but then we conceded this simple fourth goal that cost us the tie.
“I don’t know really what happened (with that goal). All the goals are errors from someone. If we look at the goals we have conceded, they are all errors of some kind. We were caught by surprise (for the fourth goal), I imagine we were ball watching.
“We were very focused on set plays because they are the best team in the Premier League at dead balls and we were caught by surprise.”
The Barca boss lamented a chance missed by Luis Suarez early in the second half and held his hands up to apologise to the Barca fans.
“At the start of the second half, Suarez had the chance to equalise and then we conceded two goals in two minutes,” he said. “The truth is, they played strongly, they played really well, we have to congratulate them for the tie they played.
Source: Evening Standard