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Pep defends Valverde as Iniesta slams ‘ugly’ Barca methods

Pep defends Valverde as Iniesta slams ‘ugly’ Barca methods

13/01/2020 at 09:16Updated 13/01/2020 at 10:17

Andres Iniesta says Barcelona are behaving “a bit ugly” amid reports Ernesto Valverde is set to be replaced as head coach.

Xavi Hernandez, who holds the record for the most Barcelona appearances, confirmed he spoke with sporting director Eric Abidal and chief executive Oscar Grau over the weekend.

However, the current Al Saad manager has reportedly turned down the chance to take over, and with the club in limbo, Xavi’s former team-mate Iniesta has criticised the club’s handling of the situation.

"What comes to my mind a little, if all this is so, is that the way everything is being done is a bit ugly," Iniesta, who played for one season under Valverde, told Onda Cero.

"I think that there should always be respect for the coach. The boss' situation and position has been left very weakened.

" My relationship with the boss is very good. During the year we have been talking sometimes. Really, beyond whether we like the coach or not, I think the situation is not pleasant for anyone: the coach, the team or the fans."

Former Barca boss Pep Guardiola added that Valverde does not deserve to be under such pressure given the club are currently top of La Liga.

Ernesto Valverde

Ernesto ValverdeGetty Images

"Barcelona is a special place where winning the league isn't enough," said Guardiola after Manchester City beat Aston Villa 6-1 on Sunday.

" I feel bad for Ernesto Valverde. He doesn't deserve this. I hope the situation can be resolved soon, I wish that as a club member. That's all.""

Valverde’s predecessor Luis Enrique also leapt to the coach’s defence.

"He hasn't done anything, apart from what it means to have lost a match at a club like Barcelona," Luis Enrique told Movistar.

Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Ernesto Valverde

Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Ernesto Valverde Eurosport

"There's always a special pressure on the coach and players there. Those who have had the good fortune to be coaches at these huge clubs know this.

"It's a risky business. Valverde is an experienced coach who has won titles and he has the chance to win more.

"I feel for him because I like him a lot. He's doing a really good job and can almost all the titles, as they're leading La Liga and are into the Champions League knockouts. He is one of the best Spanish coaches."