Valverde not to blame for Barcelona's Copa defeat, says president Bartomeu
Barcelona's Copa del Rey final defeat to Valencia on Saturday was not the fault of under-pressure coach Ernesto Valverde, according to the club's president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
A 2-1 defeat at Real Betis' Benito Villamarin in Seville left Barca feeling as though the 2018-19 season has been something of an underachievement despite retaining their LaLiga crown.
Just a few weeks ago, after beating Liverpool 3-0 in the Champions League semi-final first leg, Barca looked entirely capable of winning the treble.
But they were humiliatingly beaten 4-0 by Liverpool in the return leg and Saturday's loss robbed them of a domestic double, with Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo Moreno putting the game beyond Barca despite Lionel Messi pulling one back.
Valverde's suitability has been called into question by many supporters since the humbling Liverpool loss, but Bartomeu backed the head coach.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Bartomeu said: "We have always said that Ernesto has a contract for next season.
"I do not think he's the culprit. We had many opportunities, but they did not find the net. But count the goals and Valencia scored one more than us.
"It is not a season of excellence, but [nor is it one] of failure. We have reached the final of the Copa, the semi-finals of Champions League.
"In the end, we lost two games, but we are out of the Champions League and we are Copa runners-up."