Xavi Hernandez praises Ernesto Valverde ahead of La Liga clash

Barcelona face Athletic Club at Camp Nou on Sunday in what is shaping up to be the best game of the weekend in La Liga. There are several plots and narratives, one of them is Ernesto Valverde. Txingurri will return to Camp Nou for the first time since he was sacked.

Xavi’s first question at his pre-match press conference was directed at him about the match. Marca covered his response while Xavi praised the former Blaugrana coach.

“Yes, I think it will be intense. He will be a tough opponent, aggressive in the recovery after defeat, under high pressure… Valverde is more offensive than Marcelino. They will squeeze us. They work very well. I hold Valverde in high regard for what he has done here as well.”

Valverde was the last Barcelona manager to win a La Liga title and only recently did the Blaugrana finish the first round of La Liga for the first time since Valverde left. Xavi had more warm words for him later in the press room.

“We highly value what he has done, from within. Valverde seems to me to be a spectacular coach. Without being shrill, without showing bad attitude, impeccable. An example. His work was excellent.”

While Valverde was not impeccable at the Camp Nou, in hindsight it was clear that he not only enjoyed massive success, but also dealt with a number of issues that have since proved too much for his successors.

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