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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Ernesto Valverde: Barcelona have work to do despite Sevilla victory

Barcelona manager pays tribute to match-winner Paco Alcacer as four-point lead at top of Primera Liga is maintained.

Barcelona's coach Ernesto Valverde was not completely content despite his side's 2-1 win over Sevilla. Manu Fernandez / AP Photo
Barcelona's coach Ernesto Valverde was not completely content despite his side's 2-1 win over Sevilla. Manu Fernandez / AP Photo

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde praised Paco Alcacer for his efforts against Sevilla but said there is still "a lot" of work for the team to do.

The recalled Alcacer, who endured a disappointing first season at the Nou Camp, was making just his second league start of the campaign, yet he had an impact by putting the hosts ahead mid-way through the first half.

And after Guido Pizarro had levelled for Sevilla after the break with a header from a corner, it was another first-time finish from Alcacer that restored Barca's lead, and their four-point advantage at the top of the table.

Valverde admitted the side had "suffered" at times at the hands of Sevilla, although Alcacer's second goal ensured Barca ultimately picked up three valuable points with a 2-1 win.

Speaking to Barca TV, Valverde said of Alcacer and the win: "They are important goals for him but also for the team as it allows us to stay very well positioned.

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"We are happy with the win, but there is still a lot of work to do."

Barcelona returned to the Nou Camp on Saturday following their first goalless Uefa Champions League match for five years in a 0-0 draw against Olympiacos, so were looking to find the net against Sevilla.

Valverde said: "In the first half we played really well, I think we had chances to have gone in more goals up at half time. In the second half they pushed us, and we had to suffer a little bit.

"I think we didn't have the control in the second half that we had in the first, we conceded the equaliser from a set piece, we had to move forward and get the goal."

Valverde welcomed the insight the victory gave into how the team are performing. He admitted second place Valencia are "looking strong", but highlighted the eight and 11-point leads Barca have over Atletico and Real Madrid respectively.

On his improved fortune, Alcacer told Barca TV: "Obviously a striker lives for goals and since I arrived I had a bit of a bad run and the ball just didn't go in in. But now, at the end of the day, it's going in. I just have to keep working and take my chances."