Valverde: "Roma pressed us high and we couldn't deal with it"
Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League with a 3-0 defeat to Roma in the Italian capital. Ernesto Valverde reiterated the importance of looking ahead.
Ernesto Valverde spoke to the press after Barcelona fell to a 3-0 defeat to Roma, sealing their exit from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage for the third consecutive season.
How do you explain the match today?
When you suffer this kind of defeat, the analysis can be straightforward or difficult. I think we started well, but they put pressure on us really high. They pressed aggressively and we didn’t deal with that very well. It’s been a bad day because we haven’t been capable of dealing with the situations they’ve put us in. They played well and we didn’t. They stopped us playing our own way.
Barcelona couldn’t react. Why?
You always hope it will go the other way, but when you play such a high-risk game, it can leave gaps that they can exploit with a pass in to space. At 2-0 we were on the edge, but we weren’t sharp.
Were you surprised that Roma played with two strikers, and why didn’t you make changes earlier?
It didn’t surprise me. It was one of the options. Regarding the substitutions, we thought that we could deal with the problems they were giving us with the players that were out there. There were people on the pitch with the experience to come up with solutions.
Barça came across as a team that came here to waste time and hold on to the lead from the first leg…
Absolutely not. We came out trying to win but the team played well… we wanted to approach the game like it was still 0-0, we tried to do the same thing but they went high risk and we didn’t deal with their pressure.
To what extent does this put a black mark on Barça’s season?
It’s a painful defeat, there’s no doubt about that. We all want to win competitions, but only one team can win and the others fall by the wayside. We didn’t expect to go out. We’ve got to keep on going. You’ve got to weather the storm and there will be tough days, but we have to try to win the two competitions. A defeat like this hurts a lot, but you’ve got to look forward.
Bartomeu has apologised to the fans. Do you too?
I said so earlier. We’re sorry to lose but this is part of football. We love winning 6-0, but when you lose, you lose.