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Valverde satisfied with first season as Barca coach

Barcelona, May 20: Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said he was satisfied with his team’s season, although he considered their early exit from the UEFA Champions League a complicated moment.

In their first season under Valverde, Barcelona won the La Liga title and the Spanish Cup, but lost in the Champions League quarter-finals to Roma on away goals, despite taking a 4-1 advantage in the first leg.

“I’ll give the team a good grade, as it has been a long and hard campaign,” Valverde said on Saturday at a press conference on the eve of their final La Liga game of the season against Real Sociedad.
“Overall it has been an excellent campaign and we should be happy. We have learned from our problems and taken steps forward. We have won the double and we have to be pleased with that,” he added.
Valverde said his squad is looking to wrap up the season on a high note, especially as it will be the last game for captain Andres Iniesta, a player the Spanish coach said he considers irreplaceable.

“We won’t get a replica of Andres Iniesta. We have players like Denis Suarez, Aleña or Coutinho, who are similar but a little more attack-minded. All of us will have to make up for his absence together,” he explained.

The coach highlighted the importance of Sergio Busquets, who has reportedly demanded a salary increase, adding “I am confident he will stay with us.” IANS

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Ankur Kalita