Barcelona coach wary of first season treble prophecy
Ernesto Valverde dismissed the idea that he, as Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique had done before, would win a league, Cup and Champions League treble in his first season at the helm.
Valverde has regalvanized the lacklustre Barcelona of last season taking over the team that had just lost Neymar and revitalised their fortunes and the form of their star player Lionel Messi.
But despite an eight point advantage over Atletico Madrid, a cup final date with Sevilla in April and a relatively easy draw with Roma in the Champions League quarters, Valverde says Barca a treble is a big ask.
"I don't believe in prophecies," said the Basque whose Barca outfit host Atletico Bilbao Sunday.
"Everything is possible and we will give it absolutely everything," he promised.
"I would have signed in my own blood if you'd offered me this position at the start of the season."
But Valverde pointed to Roma as the obstacle that could make the difference between his Barcelona and those of Guardiola and Luis Enrique.
"Roma beat Chelsea 3-0, a team against which we struggled," he said after a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge had preceded a Messi inspired 3-0 win at the Nou Camp.
"Roma also finished above both Chelsea and Atletico (in the group stage) and Atletico is our main league rival, so you get a bit of the measure of the size of rival they are," he said.
© 2018 AFP