Valverde earns Bartomeu defence

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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says coach Ernesto Valverde was not to blame for Saturday's Copa del Rey final defeat.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says coach Ernesto Valverde was not to blame for Saturday’s Copa del Rey final defeat.

The Blaugrana struggled to find their rhythm at Seville’s Benito Villamarin Stadium as strikes from Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo gave underdogs Valencia a 2-0 lead heading into the break.

Lionel Messi struck back with 17 minutes to go but it was not to be and having also lost out in the Champions League semi-finals, the La Liga title appears a meagre return from a season where the treble looked on at the start of the month.

Since squandering a 3-0 European advantage against Liverpool, Valverde’s future has been a topic for debate but Bartomeu appears happy with his man and was keen to deflect any blame following the defeat to Los Che.

‘We have always said that Ernesto has a contract for next season,’ he said.

‘I do not think he’s the culprit.

‘We had many opportunities but they did not enter, but they count the goals and Valencia made one more than us.’

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