Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and coach Ernesto Valverde before the match - Champions League - Juventus vs FC Barcelona - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy, November 22, 2017- REUTERS/Massimo Pinca Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and coach Ernesto Valverde before the match - Champions League - Juventus vs FC Barcelona - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy, November 22, 2017- REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

Valverde praises Messi & Ter Stegen

Thu, Nov. 23, 2017
CAIRO – 23 November 2017: Barcelona’s coach Ernesto Valverde had answered the press after leaving Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba on the bench for the fifth round draw against Juventus in the UEFA Champions’ League group stage.

The Spanish coach had no intention of excusing himself for the result. "We came with the intention of winning the game; we played with a lot of personality because Juventus press a lot here. There were lots of moments in the game which we dominated, but at the end they could have won it with Dybala. Until then, we'd controlled the game and we're happy to finish top, which is what we wanted," assured the Spanish coach to beIN Sports.

On the substitution of Deulofeu for Messi in the 56th minute he commented; "[Messi] is fine. He has played a lot of games and eventually he had to have a rest. We thought it would be a tight game and then it would open up. The idea was he could come on in the second half, with the game more open," according to BBC Sport.

Valverde also praised goalkeeper Ter Stegen, who has managed to keep a lot of clean sheets this season. "He is in a great moment of form, although the plan is for him to not have to make many saves. He didn't have a lot to do today but, yes, he was there to make a decisive save [from Paulo Dybala]. If they'd scored then, they'd have won the game."

Finally, he spoke about Sevilla’s coach Eduardo Berizzo, who has recently been diagnosed with cancer: "I want to send a gesture of support to Eduardo Berizzo. He's a manager I have a good rapport with. I speak with and have spoken with him a lot. I send him all my strength. The whole club is behind him. It's bad news, but we know that we will all be supporting him. We all love football and we are passionate about it but at times we forget there are more important things."
 
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