Sports Monks

Barcelona News: Valverde names one team Barca wanted to avoid in Champions League

Barcelona manager dropped a bomb on the eve of their Champions League Round of 16 clash against Chelsea, stating that he wanted avoid meeting Chelsea at the Round of 16 stage of the competition. He further stated that he had wished that Blues had won their group instead.

Speaking to the media in the pre-match press conference, Valverde stated, “The Premier League teams are having a great Champions League and we can’t forget we are playing against the current English league champions.

”English teams this year are in incredible form, much better than in previous years. Chelsea might be the same.

“We know that, because the English have such a strong league, they’ll all be up there competing.”

Five English teams enetered the Champions League this season. Whilst Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham made it to the competiton thanks to their top four finish in the Premier League, Manchester United sneaked in because of their triumph in the Europa League this season. All the five teams from England have made it to the Round of 16.

“We wish Chelsea had finished first in their group so we didn’t have to play them,” added Valverde ahead of the enticing clash at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Whilst Barca won their group ahead of Juventus, Chelsea made it to the last 16 by finishing second in their grouop which saw Roma come up on top based of head to head rules.

After a disappointing season under Luis Enrique last year, the Catalans are back to their dominant best this season. Valverde in his first season has helped Barca to a seven-point lead in LaLiga while also helping the team qualify for the final of the Copa del Rey. Still undefeated in La Liga, the Catalans are one of the favourites to lift the Champions League trophy. 

“The Champions League has a special aura and that means everyone is looking forward to playing in games like this one which will be a tough tie against a difficult opponent,” he said as he anticipated locking horns with Chelsea’s Antonio Conte.

“He is one of the best coaches in the world with an extraordinary CV, not just with Chelsea but also with Juventus and the Italian national side,” added Valverde.

“His teams are always hard working and they knew what they have to do. For me it’s a great challenge to come up against one of his sides,” added the Barca coach.

Like his opposite number, Valverde has been carefully studying Chelsea’s tactical system and hopes to outwit Conte.

”Chelsea have a unique style of football and know their own game. The English style of football is very unique, very physical, but they play good football as well.

“They have a defined way of playing and we have to take that into account,” he said.

“The mechanisms are different, the same way they will have to take into account our way of playing.”

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