FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde was a happy man on Saturday night after a 1-0 win at home to Levante saw his side retain Liga Santander title.
Leo Messi’s 62nd minute goal (his 34th league goal of the campaign) gave Barca the win after he came on as a substitute at the start of the second half, and Barca’s solid defense saw them home.
Barca lead second-placed Atletico Madrid by nine points with three games left in the season, but the title is secure as they have a better head to head (and a vastly superior overall) goal difference to their rivals.
Barca currently lead Real Madrid by 18 points and last season they ended the campaign 17 points ahead of their traditional rivals.
“Winning the league by this distance is something that is tremendously difficult in every competition. What we have done for the past two years is incredible and we want to celebrate it with our people,” said Valverde speaking to TV network Movistar Plus after the final whistle.
Speaking about the game, Valverde admitted that Levante had “pressured us, but it was more a question of nerves than anything else.”
“We were not able to kill the game off and they gained confidence, while we started to get nervous, but we were able to hold on,” he added.
Valverde also commented on his decision to leave Messi on the bench for the second successive game.
“He was ready to play and knew that he would take part in the game, but we have a game (Champions League semi-final against Liverpool) on Wednesday. We need him to play and to score goals in every game and today he has given us the title,” said the Barca coach.