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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Ernesto Valverde says Barcelona La Liga record 'also belongs to Luis Enrique'

Barca's 3-1 victory over Leganes, secured by the 45th hat-trick of Lionel Messi's career, saw them match Real Sociedad's all-time record of 38 successive La Liga games without defeat

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi lifts the ball over Leganes goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar to score his team's third goal. Alex Caparros / Getty Images
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi lifts the ball over Leganes goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar to score his team's third goal. Alex Caparros / Getty Images

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde was quick to share the plaudits with his predecessor Luis Enrique after the Catalan giants equalled a Primera Liga record in their win over Leganes.

Barca's 3-1 victory, secured by the 45th hat-trick of Lionel Messi's career, not only moved them 12 points clear at the summit but saw them match Real Sociedad's all-time record of 38 successive La Liga games without defeat.

Sociedad set the record between 1979 and 1980 and Barca have also achieved it over two campaigns, with 31 this season coming on the back of seven games last term.

While most of the run has been compiled under Valverde, the 54-year-old Spaniard - who replaced Enrique in the summer - refused to take all the acclaim.

He told a press conference as reported by his club's website: "We have matched an all-time record and that is especially exciting for me. It's not easy to do something that hasn't been done for such a long time.

"But it's not just my record. It also belongs to Luis Enrique and everyone who played for the team last year."

He added: "It's a shared record which has been carried on from one season.

"It's been difficult to achieve. It's an historic record, it's been there for many years, which shows you the competitiveness of the team."

Regarding the match, which saw Messi net twice in the first half before completing his hat-trick late on after Nabil El Zhar had pulled a goal back for Leganes in the 68th minute, Valverde admitted they made things difficult for themselves.

He said: "The game has brought us three very important points. We had a great first half but we didn't read things right in the second. It was normal enough for us to ease off the pace, but when you are only winning 2-0 you can't afford to get too confident."

Defender Gerard Pique added on his club's website: "We had a great first half and then eased off in the second. The important thing is that we are still comfortably poised at the top of the table

"The all-time unbeaten record is the result of getting things right all season."

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Read more:

Zinedine Zidane: no Real Madrid 'guard of honour' if Barcelona win title

Andy Mitten: Quiet night for Lionel Messi even as Barcelona ride on luck to beat Roma

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Barcelona 3
Messi (27’, 32’, 87’)

Leganes 1
El Zhar (68’)

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