Press Association Sport Staff
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde praised the consistency of his title-winning side while acknowledging they have ‘lacked brilliance’ at times.
A 4-2 victory over Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday featuring a hat-trick from Lionel Messi clinched the La Liga crown ahead of the two Madrid clubs with four matches to go.
It also completed a domestic double after the Copa del Rey success last weekend but the impact of Barca’s shock Champions League loss to Roma continues to linger.
Ernesto Valverde admitted Barcelona have ‘lacked brilliance’ at times despite winning La Liga
Valverde said on marca.com: ‘When you chase it all season you say finally. The league is very long. It is not decided only in a match. From the beginning we have been in the lead. In the end we were the best. The hard part is winning and winning.’
It is Valverde’s first league title in Spain but Barca’s seventh in the last 10 years.
The former Athletic Bilbao coach said: ‘I have not invented anything, in the end these players have already won titles and leagues with other coaches. It’s more of them than the coach.
‘We have been a competitive, compact team and we have overcome many difficulties, and in moments I know it has lacked brilliance.’
It has been an emotional week for veteran playmaker Andres Iniesta, who came off the bench for the final moments once Messi had secured victory to soak it all in. The 33-year-old will leave the club he first joined at the age of 12 at the end of the season.
After winning his ninth league title, he said: ‘The team deserved it with a good advantage over the second (team). Each competition has its difficulty and its value and that is what we have to stay with. Great season and next year to try to improve what has not been done well.
A 4-2 victory over Deportivo La Coruna featuring a hat-trick from Lionel Messi clinched title
‘They are really indescribable sensations on a personal level and as an athlete when you receive so much affection from people. I have tried to be a good athlete and a great person, surrounding myself with unique people.’
Denis Suarez made a big impact off the bench and was involved in the final two goals.
‘I’m very happy,’ he said. ‘It’s my first league title with Barcelona. We made a spectacular league (campaign) and we have to close it by being unbeaten for the whole season.’
The emotions were very different for Deportivo, for whom the result confirmed their relegation from LaLiga.
Messi celebrates with his team-mates after winning the La Liga crown on Sunday evening