Football

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde vows to carry on despite cup defeat

Barca coach sure of staying despite cup final defeat

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde believes he can stay on with the Spanish champions despite losing the Copa del Rey final 2-1 to Valencia yesterday morning (Singapore time) to complete a miserable end to the season.

Stinging from their humiliating 4-0 loss to Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final, second leg, Barca were bidding to win the Copa del Rey for the fifth year in a row, but defeat by Valencia raised more doubts about Valverde's future.

"I feel good (to continue). I know that to lose at this club is tough for the coach because there is always that responsibility. Sometimes you make mistakes, but you have to face them and here I am," said Valverde.

"A month ago, we celebrated the La Liga title thinking about winning a Treble and we've been knocked off that path at the decisive moment."

Barcelona had been hoping to add to their 2009 and 2015 Trebles and, after throwing away a 3-0 first-leg lead against Liverpool, the Spanish Cup final offered the chance to seal a domestic double.

"We haven't lost because we were affected by the talk of a Treble," Valverde said.

"You always work towards what the club require, which is to win trophies."

Goals by Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo Moreno were enough for Valencia to celebrate their centenary year with a first major trophy since 2008, with Lionel Messi's late strike proving to be a mere consolation for Barca.

IMPRESSIVE CAMPAIGN

It caps an impressive campaign for Valencia, who finished fourth in La Liga after a strong second half of the season.

Captain Dani Parejo said: "A club like Valencia deserves a lot more joy like this. I don't have the words, it's incredible.

"We've made history in a really significant year, our centenary year."

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique praised Valencia, saying: "Valencia are worthy champions and it's also been a good year for us.

"It's always a good year when you win La Liga, but the expectation was to have an even better year...

"We aren't worrying about the manager's future, we must analyse ourselves and try to improve... We've said more than once that we would like him to stay on."

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu has backed Valverde to stay on.

"Valverde has a contract... This defeat is not the manager's fault," Bartomeu said. - REUTERS

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