Valverde: Barca one step closer to title

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde believes his side took an important step towards the La Liga title by beating Atletico Madrid 1-0 on Sunday.

The Blaugrana took the lead in the 26th minute when Lionel Messi found the back of the Atleti goal, and they were able to maintain their slender advantage to secure three points.

The victory puts them eight points clear at the top of La Liga, and Valverde admits it was an important victory over second-placed Atletico.

“It was a very important match in that sense,” he told the press when asked about the title-race implications, according to Marca.

“It isn’t the same to be eight [points clear], than two. It isn’t definitive, obviously, but we have taken a step. We’ll see what the future holds.

“[I’m] proud, above all, of how we have competed. In matches of this kind, we have responded with certain guarantees and today has been like that. 

“Everything has followed the script. It was hard to get [the win] because they have a great defence. 

“Little by little we have been moving forward. We knew that, as the game went on, it would become more difficult because of the week we have had.

“They haven’t had clear chances but you’re uneasy because they have great strikers. We suffered because, to beat Atletico, you have to suffer.”