BARCELONA :Barcelona mentor Ernesto Valverde praised Lionel Messi for blending his side down after a nervy start against Manchester United and inspiring the Catalans to a 3-0 victory to reach the Champions League quarter-finals .
“Messi always gets us out of trouble and we’re not going to apologise for having him,” Valverde told a news conference.
“Leo always turns up in the important games, not just in the big moments but throughout the whole game. He is always capable of scoring but he also drives the team’s attack.”
“We had a lot of hope for this tie, it was a long time since we have been in the semi-finals and we had a very painful defeat last year,” he said.
“You never know what can happen in football, they [United] have a very good team and they could have caused us problems, so we made sure we were focussed and played with intensity so we would make it through.”
United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer meanwhile backed Barca to conquer the continent again.
“With the quality they’ve got, the front three they’ve got, and players they can bring on like Dembele and Malcom, I wouldn’t bet against them,” Solskjaer said.
He added Messi’s majestic display underlined why is he regarded as the best player in the world alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.