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Ernesto Valverde set to be sacked by Barcelona

FOOTBALL By Mirror | May 28th 2019
Ernesto Valverde is set to be relieved of his duties by Barcelona [Courtesy]

The Spaniard led Barcelona to the La Liga title this season but they suffered Champions League heartbreak in the semi-final

Ernesto Valverde is set to be relieved of his duties by Barcelona today after suffering two cup humiliations this season.

Despite leading Barca to the La Liga title, Valverde's side suffered Champions League heartbreak in the semi-finals against Liverpool.

They held a comfortable 3-0 lead going into the second leg at Anfield but the Reds mounted a historic comeback, sealing a stunning 4-0 victory to book a place in the final against Tottenham.

The Spanish giants were also beaten in the Copa del Rey final by Valencia at the weekend - and now the Spaniards have made a decision on his future.

According to Spanish outlet RAC1, club chiefs have decided a new direction is needed next season and the manager will be sacked by the club on Tuesday.

Reports in Spain suggest that Belgium manager Roberto Martinez is among the leading candidates to replace the Spaniard, with Thierry Henry touted as his Nou Camp assistant.

Speaking after their Copa del Rey final defeat, Valverde rejected the suggestion his players had been psychologically scarred by their Champions League experience at the hands of Liverpool.

The Reds' 4-0 comeback in the European semi-final second leg appeared to still be playing on the Barca squad's minds in the build-up to the Copa del Rey final with captain Lionel Messi admitting it was "tough to get back up".

That hangover continued as they were beaten 2-1 by Valencia to end the season with just the La Liga title despite, a month ago, having dreams of a treble.

Valverde, who insisted he was ready to renew the fight next season despite speculation over his future, said the tie at Anfield was not responsible for their defeat in Real Betis' Estadio Benito Villamarin in Seville.

"We have lost, but not because of a psychological issue," he told a press conference.

"It's different from the game we played a fortnight ago, but we've lost again, that is reality, the feeling.

"We have not been able to fulfil our own expectations: we celebrated the league title, we thought we could make a triplet and we stayed on the road at the decisive moment in the Champions League and in the Copa del Rey.

"You're left with a bad feeling because we created that expectation and it has not been like that. We're here to win titles and not for anything else."

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