Barça boss Valverde: “In the end you depend on Messi's genius"

Ernesto Valverde discussed Messi's free-kick and injuries to Iniesta and Gerard Piqué following the crucial LaLiga victory over Atlético at Camp Nou.
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Barça boss Valverde: “In the end you depend on Messi's genius"

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde spoke to the media after Lionel Messi's first-half free-kick secured victory for his side over Atlético Madrid, opening an eight-point gap at the top of LaLiga. 

Read what Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone had to say after the match. 

"In the end you depend on Messi's genius"

Barça had to suffer for that victory

That's because of how important the points are. I think they barely had any chances. The disallowed goal, perhaps. But you always have the feeling that they can score against you at any moment, such is the level they're at as a team. 

Your team responded again in a big match

I've no doubts about that. The team came together. We conscious that we have to be together in order to apply pressure and hang on when they dominate. I knew that the team was going to respond. But of course, in the end you depend on Messi's genius. We handled the game well. 

Messi's free-kick

I was thinking about when I was at Athletic. There were two or three consecutive matches where Messi scored free-kicks against us. I suffered before, now I'm enjoying it. 

Another victory after limited recovery time

That is fundamental, because as you say, time was against us and we were going to notice the strain. And we hadn't won the previous match. We're happy. It's true that we had a blip against Las Palmas and people always take it to the extreme in football. They were throwing confetti the day we beat Girona, and the confetti will start to come out again, but against Las Palmas we were scratching our heads... this is how football is in general. 

Messi scores against Atlético.

Gerard Piqué's injury is not serious

What do Barça lose with Iniesta absent?

If we win, not much. If we lose, everything. He can't be matched, like Messi. you can't replace a player like him, a unique player. We going to wait to see the scan of the injury. It looked like a muscle tear, but we'll hope that it's not so serious. He knows how to manage himself. He was having a great game. 

It was the biggest attendance of the season at Camp Nou, yet there were boos for André Gomes...

I heard applause too. He's a player who helps us, and people appreciate his effort. 

How is Gerard Piqué's knee?

It's an injury he can play through. It's not a serious injury, and with two or three weeks on the fringes he'd be fine. He's risking it but he's doing well. It depends on if he gets a blow in that area. We're going to continue like this for the moment. 

There was a tribute to Quini before the match. What did he mean to you?

I knew him as a player. I was a kid and he was extraordinary. A really endearing person who you could speak to, and who was always in a good mood. The general reaction from within football has been significant. 

LaLiga Santander

Table PTS W D L
1Barcelona 69 21 6 0
2Atlético 61 18 7 2
3Real Madrid 54 16 6 5
Full standing
Next matches
Málaga - Barcelona S-10/03 20:45
Barcelona - Athletic D-18/03 16:15
Sevilla - Barcelona D-01/04 17:00

*Update 4 de marzo de 2018