Valverde not focused on five-point gap

Ernesto Valverde is not taking any comfort from Barcelona’s healthy lead in the LaLiga title race after watching his side squeeze past Getafe 2-1.

Lionel Messi notched his 16th league goal of the season and Luis Suarez his 12th as Barca went 2-0 up in the first half, while Jaime Mata pulled one back for Getafe before the break.

The Catalans are now five points clear of Atletico Madrid, with Sevilla and Alaves another two and four points behind respectively.

Real Madrid are down in fifth and 10 points off the pace after losing 2-0 at home to Real Sociedad on Sunday.

However, Valverde told Marca: “We knew about the other results before kick-off and were under pressure to take advantage of the opportunity.

“But I do not think too much about the other teams. We have a lot to do.

“I don’t know if there were similar gaps between clubs at this point last year but I do know that we did not manage to win the league until almost the end of the season.”

Referring to the second half, which saw seventh-placed Getafe fight back admirably to slash the deficit, Valverde said: “It was essential for us to stay focused and not let the game get away from us.

“They are a tough team, with strong players when you go one-on-one, and the game was tight.

“There were times after the break when they were the better side. Towards the end we managed to keep hold of the ball and that’s how we stayed out of trouble.

Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona – UEFA Champions League – Group B – Wembley Stadium
Lionel Messi was among the goals once again (Nick Potts/PA)

“We expected a difficult game and they got back into the game with the goal, but we’re happy.”

Getafe boss Jose Bordalas said at his post-match press conference: “It’s a bittersweet feeling as we stood up to Barca. The players made a tremendous effort against them and I think we countered their attacking potential.”

Goalscorer Mata bemoaned having an early strike ruled out and questioned the role of the video assistant referee in the decision-making process.

He said: “The referee indicated he had seen a foul and so he whistled. If VAR is there to help, I don’t understand why the situation wasn’t then reviewed.

“Matches are decided by these moments. They had their two good moments and were given both of them, but at least we can say we didn’t surrender and fought right to the end.”

Bordalas added: “Mata’s goal was totally valid and that’s why we feel hard done by. I have always defended VAR but I think it has not worked well here.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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