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Barcelona manager rejects talk of resignation after shock defeat

Ernesto Valverde dismissed a question about whether he would step down after his side’s loss at the hands of Levante.

 Ernesto Valverde (file pic).
Ernesto Valverde (file pic).

ERNESTO VALVERDE dismissed a question about whether he would resign as Barcelona boss after his side’s shock defeat at the hands of Levante.

La Liga leaders Barca went down 3-1 at Ciutat de Valencia on Saturday, three goals in seven second-half minutes proving decisive for the hosts after Lionel Messi’s penalty before the break.

Barca’s third loss in six top-flight away games this season means Real Madrid have the chance to go top of the table when they play Real Betis, while Sevilla will also climb above them if they beat Atletico Madrid.

The setback for Valverde’s men ended an impressive seven-match winning run in all competitions, but the head coach still faced questions over his future after the match.

Asked if he was surprised by his players’ performance or contemplating resignation, Valverde said: “No to both of those questions. I’m not thinking of resigning – only looking forward.

“Everything just collapsed. We didn’t start the second half well and we weren’t creating any danger.

“Then, although they weren’t causing us too many problems, they put two goals past us in two minutes. The third goal after that really punished us.

“Our opponents play against us as if it’s the biggest game of the year and so you need to be able to respond.

“We know what this result means and what it means to win at these grounds. You need to make a massive effort, but my team is used to that.

“They had a great second half and managed to beat us. We have to analyse what happened and ask ourselves why it did.”

Sergio Busquets came on in the second half and struggled to put his finger on what had gone wrong, suggesting the margin of victory was not an accurate reflection of the match.

“There’s no explanation,” the midfielder said. “It was a very even game and we did the most difficult part by going ahead.

“But they landed a blow and it did us damage. They had a burst of 10 minutes and they play with a lot of people in attack. On one of the goals, we couldn’t get the second ball.

“I think that the game was equal, but the result was excessive. We were on a good run before. There is a game in the Champions League soon and another in LaLiga.”

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