Ernesto Valverde provides his backing for Philippe Coutinho

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has given his backing to midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who endured a difficult game against Girona in the Spanish La Liga. The Brazil international has struggled to secure a regular starting role under Valverde this term and he has done himself no favours after squandering a couple of golden chances to find the scoresheet.

The Blaugrana returned to winning ways with Nelson Semedo and Lionel Messi finding the net but the match could have been much more comfortable, had Coutinho converted his chances which included a one-on-one with the opposition keeper. Speaking after the game, Valverde was supportive of the former Liverpool man despite the average performance and suggested that he has been pleased by the Brazilian’s workrate throughout the game, he said: "What I like about him is that he always tries things and takes on his man. It might work or it might not. He had chances but didn't score because their goalkeeper is excellent. He'll convert other chances soon."

Luis Enrique hails the attitude of his players

The Spanish supporters were left gutted once again as the team suffered an early exit in another multi-team tournament. Spain failed to make it to the knockout stages of the on-going Nations League despite making a very good beginning to the group stage.

Spain lost the plot after earning 6 points out of the 2 matches. Two back to back losses after that sent them packing and it was a bitter pill to swallow for the supporters, but the coach Luis Enrique is not unhappy with the team’s performance and he thinks the team has actually got better since he has taken charge.

Thiago Alcantara hopes to stay with Bayern Munich for the long-term

Spain international Thiago Alcantara has iterated his ambition to stay put with Bayern Munich for the long-term. The midfielder has been marred by several injury concerns during his time with the Bavarian giants but he has nonetheless been an influential player for the club over the past five-and-a-half seasons.

Speaking to Goal.com, Alcantara said that he has gained experience during his five-year stay with the Bundesliga holders and he hopes to continue his association with the club for many years to come, he quipped: “I’ve matured here, gained important experience and the opportunity to enjoy football more. Life is made up of stages and, of course, some more years can be added to this stage.”

La Liga more competitive than ever

Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes believes that La Liga has become more competitive in recent years and it is becoming increasingly difficult to win it.

He said that there was a time where only Barcelona and Real Madrid was competing for the title but things have changed in recent years. He said that teams such as Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, and Valencia have all become stronger and making it difficult to win games against.

Barcelona manager heaps praise on Arthur after Tottenham Hotspur win

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has heaped praise on summer signing Arthur following his side’s 4-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Wednesday night. The Blaugrana were the dominant side for the most of the European encounter but they were stages where the hosts tried to come back into the game.

Despite this, Lionel Messi once more made the difference by scoring a match-winning brace but Valverde took time to praise the qualities of Arthur, who was hugely impressive with his distribution throughout the match, he said: “Man, that's what it's about. Looking for a gap, he has some qualities that come in handy. He completes many passes, it's hard to take the ball off him. He has been a starter in an important game. We played a good game and we had opportunities to extend the lead before and not have to suffer so much, but this is the Champions League.”

Victor Valdes Starts His Training Sessions

The former goalkeeper of Spanish Victor Valdes was known as the 2010 World Cup’s champion in South Africa as well as the Polish-Ukrainian European Championship 2012. He has now entered the field of coaching which is his first experience. Victor coaches at the Moratalaz sports school which is a club situated in the southern part of Madrid. His work here primarily aims at training adolescents and children. As per him, it is an interesting stage as it’s always good to start with kids. The goalkeeper is currently taking care of the Youth A team.

The initial days of work began with sport success as the team was with Madrid Youth Cup. It is a pre-season match where in teams from different regions took part such as Alcorcon, Leganes, and Atletico de Madrid. In addition, there were guests, which included the national team in Yokohama. The 36 year old received his UEFA A and B license and it gives a green signal to train youth category teams post completion of a 6 week course for participants who belonged to the Spanish team and played a minimum of 8 seasons in the Premier League.

Victor Valdes Will Coach Youth Team Of Rayo Majadahonda

After their promotion to the Segunda Division, the Rayo Majadahonda is very near to appointing Victor Valdes as their new youth coach. As far as the Valdes interest in coaching the team is concerned, then he has been looking for the coaching opportunity since he retired from playing professionally. And this opportunity seems to be the first rung on the ladder for him. He is happy and excited for this opportunity.

According to the reports, Media Base Sports recently completed their takeover of Rayo Majadahonda and it is believed that they will have a significant influence on the decision to recruit Valdes as the coach. Even people associated with the decision are very excited about the same and Valdes to be the part of the team.

Can Chelsea Topple Barca?

Ahead of the return leg in the Last 16 stage of the Champions League, the question is if Antonio Conte’s Chelsea can shock their hosts Barcelona. The Catalan side is good defensively and their attacking prowess remains unrivalled. They face a Chelsea side that believes in their edge historically over them.

Both sides met first in the continental tournament in the year 2000. Since them the Blues have won four times and played five draws against Barca. And their confidence in this history was evident in the first leg where they put up a spirited performance against the La Liga side.

TOP BRITISH PLAYERS THAT INFLUENCED THE EL CLASICO

The El Clasico is set for Saturday and players of both sides are gearing up for the crucial game. The fixture could turn out to be the most important game in the first half of this season in the La Liga. If Barcelona can get victory at the Bernabeu, the title would likely return to the Catalan side at the end of the season.

If Real Madrid can get victory, then the gap would be cut short and the race still open for others. Valencia and Atletico Madrid are still in the race so a victory for the home side would ensure full competition until the end of the season but a loss could affect the other teams psychologically.

VALDES ON BARCELONA'S TITLE CHANCES

Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes believes that the Spanish giant can win the title this season. H said that they have already made a good start to the season and that there is no reason why they will not continue their current form.

He believes that the departure of Neymar has not affected the team a lot and that the players have managed to improve collectively since the departure of the Brazilian forward. He admitted that the Brazilian player was an important member of the team and that they relied a lot on him to create danger in the opposition half.

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