Ansu Fati is "something special" says Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde
Teenage promise Ansu Fati was lauded by coach Ernesto Valverde after starring in Barcelona's 5-2 victory over Valencia on Saturday night.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde described Ansu Fati as "something special" after the teenager starred in a 5-2 win over Valencia on Saturday. Making his starting debut, Fati needed just seven minutes to have a major impact at Camp Nou, opening the scoring before setting up Frenkie de Jong for Barça's second.
Ansu Fati rewriting the record books
Fati, aged 16 years and 318 days, became the youngest player to score as a starter in LaLiga history, and the youngest player to both score and assist in a LaLiga game in the 21st century. Valverde lauded the teenager – who has scored two LaLiga goals for Barça – for his performance, saying it was beyond expectations.
"He is a player who has something special. For his age it seems that he is more mature," he told Movistar. "What you see in training is what you see here. Today was something exaggerated – goal, give one assist and almost score another."
Fati set up Barça's victory before a second-half goal from Gerard Piqué and Luis Suárez brace lifted Valverde's side onto seven points from four LaLiga games. Amid the excitement around Fati, Valverde played down comparisons to superstar Lionel Messi, who is sidelined with a calf injury. "I'm not worried about the comparison," he said. "The ball is going to be very big and we have to take care of deflating it."
Barcelona move up to fourth
Barcelona sit fourth in what is a congested top half of the table, trailing Atlético de Madrid (nine points), Real Madrid (eight) and Athletic Club (eight). As for his side's performance, Valverde praised Barça's second-half display at home.
"The best thing is that we have come out with determination, to try to score and arrive," he said. "Sometimes we were in danger of putting a lot forward and leaving room for counters. They have fast players. We have done a good second half."
Barcelona are back in action on Tuesday, visiting Borussia Dortmund in their opening game in the Champions League this season.