Valverde denies El Clasico distraction


Ernesto Valverde has rubbished the suggestion he cost his Barcelona team maximum points at Real Sociedad by resting players for next week's El Clasico.

The reigning champions saw their six-match winning run in La Liga come to an end on Saturday afternoon after they were held to a 2-2 draw at the Anoeta.

Barca had battled back from falling behind early on in the Basque region, going 2-1 ahead thanks to strikes from Luis Suarez and Antoinne Griezmann before being pegged back after the hour mark by Alexander Isak.

With his team chasing a win, Valverde made the strange decision to take off Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Ivan Rakitic and has since been accused of prioritising the upcoming meeting with Real Madrid.

Los Blancos come to the Nou Camp on Wednesday night and the visitors could be two points clear at the top of the table if they can get the better of Valencia on Sunday night.

Given how the table could now look by the time the first Clasico meeting of the season kicks off, Valverde reacted angrily to the suggestion he opted to rest players for that game by taking them off early at Sociedad.

“We are dying here on the bench and we’re going to think about the Clasico? You think about what you have in front of you,” Valverde said.

Barcelona have had their issues away from home this season and Valverde admits they were at a disadvantage at the Anoeta, although he was still of the belief they did enough to win the game.

“It (playing away from home) cost us, but it costs anyone. I don’t see any team that just walks away at home,” he added.