Barcelona left it late to earn a draw away to Atletico Madrid on Saturday evening thanks to an Ousmane Dembele goal and Ernesto Valverde reserved praise for the forward after the game.
Dembele has had disciplinary problems in recent weeks, but after coming on as a late substitute for the Catalans he grabbed a crucial goal.
“It’s true that he was decisive,” Valverde said at his post-match press conference.
“It’s also true that he is having continuity because he has played a lot and in a team like this you need everything”. “Dembele has things that others don’t – self-confidence, shooting with both feet, personality and talent.
“He’s always on the lips of a lot of people, and he gives us a lot of things.”
The kind words didn’t stop there for the forward, though, and Valverde continued.
“He’s a great player and has a lot of talent,” he added. “He has been talked about a lot, too much.
“It’s true that we didn’t call him for the last game, but he’s a great player that can help this team. “We expect a lot of things from him because he has great talent.”
Both sides will have hopes of challenging for the LaLiga Santander title come the end of the season, and all in all a point isn’t a bad result for the Catalans. “I don’t know who will be the main rival, but for sure Atletico are one of them,” Valverde said.
“For the league, the cup and the Champions League. “We must realise the difficulty of playing against Atletico.”
The result means Barcelona stay top of the league for now, with Atletico one point behind.