Eibar manager Jose Luis Mendilibar has defended Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde from recent criticism.
Valverde’s side returned to the top position in La Liga with a 3-0 win against Eibar, but he has been the subject of criticism from every corner.
Much of the negativity surrounding the former Athletic Bilbao boss is connected to Barcelona’s slip ups in the Champions League and Copa del Rey at the back end of 2019-20.
Eibar manager defends Valverde
“Losing two games early on in the season, is not normal for Barcelona.
“They often lose just a few games each season.
“But they are a great team, with a great coach.
“Do not doubt Valverde, as he is the best he is the best that Barcelona have.”
Mendilibar has hailed the performances of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. Both scored against his side, stating that once they are back to full fitness. If it is so, then Barcelona will be favourites to retain their La Liga title.
Barcelona head to Slavia Prague in midweek Champions League action, before a potential weekend off following the postponement of El Clasico at the Camp Nou.
“It’s a question of time and of playing matches,” Valverde said at a post-match press conference reported by Marca.
“In the end, great players always find each other and know where their team-mates will be and know where the pass will go.
“They’ve participated and worked very hard. This is the reward. They scored a goal each, they understood each other well.
“The new players are finding their place and trying to understand each other. It’s a question of time before they understand each other better.”
Valverde was delighted to come away with the win, particularly as Eibar dominated the match until Griezmann’s opener against the run of play.
“When you come to this ground, you have to play here,” Valverde added. “Today, I thought we played really well. It’s a tough away ground because Eibar makes you work really hard.
“They put a lot of pressure on you. You have to be very attentive to defend these crosses and counter very quickly.
“You have to make sure you look after the ball throughout, you have to organise yourself well against the danger and we have done that today and we got the result.”
Summer signing Frenkie De Jong dictated play throughout the match and even received a standing ovation from the Eibar supporters when he was replaced by Ivan Rakitic with 11 minutes remaining.
“He’s having a great start to the season,” Valverde said about the Holland international.
“We’ve seen that he gives us a lot for the strength that he has, as much in attack as in defence. This is why the crowd recognised him.”
Valverde’s position had come into question after a stuttering start to the campaign but opposite number and former team-mate Jose Luis Mendilibar defended the Barcelona head coach.
The Eibar boss said: “It’s not normal for them to lose twice early on when they usually lose just a couple of times over a whole season.
“They’re a great team and they have a great coach. Don’t doubt him at any point because he’s the best Barcelona have.”
The streak of four consecutive wins in LaLiga allowed FC Barcelona to reach the leader of the leaderboard after a start of the season with several setbacks. Those of Ernesto Valverde , despite the criticism, currently marching in a better ranking than last season in terms of points. Although about a year ago the Catalans also led the table, then they had 18 points to their credit, one less than today, where with the three conquered in Ipurúa they already add 19.
If we look back we see how in the last ten years there had been no records as low as in the last two in terms of the two leading teams in the Spanish competition. In fact, Barça had up to six points more than now after the day nine of the League in the seasons 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2017-18.