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Valdes content despite Barcas stuttering form

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30 Aug 2013 00:16:54

Valdes content despite Barcas stuttering form

Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has said he is happy with his side's start to the campaign despite the fact the Catalans haven't shone in any of their past three games.

Valdes was the hero as Barca lifted a record 11th Spanish Super Cup on away goals following a 0-0 draw (1-1 on aggregate) with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night as he made a string of fine saves.

And with three clean sheets from the first four games of the season, the 31-year-old is pleased with how his final campaign at the Camp Nou has begun.

"I am very happy both on a personal level with my performances and how the team has started the season," he told Barca TV.

"My role at Barca means I don't have to intervene a lot. I have to do so with my feet more often than with my hands and now and again it is good to show that I can also do so with my hands."

However, after a 7-0 thrashing of Levante on the opening day, new Barca boss Gerardo Martino hasn't had the most convincing of starts as, in between the two draws with Atleti, the Spanish champions were also lucky to come away with a 1-0 win from their trip to Malaga last weekend.

Valdes, though, is hoping that having clinched the first silverware of the season they can kick on when they face another stiff test away to Valencia on Sunday.

"There are always aspects you can improve. Something which you do well today, the next day you might do badly. It will be a very tough season because Barca is always the team to beat so we need to go game by game.

"It is very important to start the season with this title. The players give it the value it deserves.

"We knew Atletico are a very good team playing on the counter-attack and taking advantage of the second ball. That is a style of play that is very uncomfortable for us."

And a former Barca player Oriol Romeu is hoping his Valencia side can follow Atletico's lead.

Romeu has joined Los Che on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea and believes his new teammates are capable of at least repeating their 1-1 draw with Barca at the Mestalla last season.

"Barca are uncomfortable when they don't have the ball and, with the pressure that Atletico put on them, they managed to take the ball away from them for long spells," he told the club's website.

"If we can do the same and be well-positioned at the back then we have the team to be able to beat them."

Valencia boss Miroslav Djukic could hand a debut to Colombian striker Dorlan Pabon after his move from Monterrey was completed on Wednesday and the Serbian is expected to make a few changes after publicly criticising his side's performance in the 3-1 defeat to Espanyol last weekend.

Earlier on Sunday, Real Madrid could move above Barca to the top of the table as they host Athletic Bilbao in the first midday kick-off of the season.

Madrid have won both their opening games by the odd goal and new boss Carlo Ancelotti admitted after Monday's 1-0 win over Granada that his side were still coming to terms with the change in philosophy he is looking to implement.

The Italian is likely to be forced into naming another very offenisve line-up though as injuries to Sami Khedira, Xabi Alonso and Asier Illarramendi mean all of Luka Modric, Isco, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria should start.

And on a footballing feast on Sunday, the meat in the Real and Barca sandwich is arguably the best match of the weekend as Spain's other two Champions League representatives, Real Sociedad and Atletico, square off at Anoeta.

Fixtures

Friday

Almeria v Elche, Rayo Vallecano v Levante (both 2100 GMT)

Saturday

Celta Vigo v Granada (1700 GMT), Valladolid v Getafe (1900 GMT), Osasuna v Villarreal (2100 GMT)

Sunday

Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao (1000 GMT), Espanyol v Real Betis (1500 GMT), Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid (1700 GMT), Sevilla v Malaga, Valencia v Barcelona (1900 GMT)


AFP

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