Barcelona 2-1 Valencia: 3 things that went right for Barcelona


They need just seven more points to win the title back from holders Real Madrid.

Valencia played well, but for all their youthful verve they do not have the same talent or experience as a Barca side who beat them home and away in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

The Catalans have now gone over a year since they lost a league game - against Malaga - and extended their lead at the top of the table to 14 points, with second placed Atletico Madrid in action on Sunday. This is the most important thing.

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Speaking after the victory, Valverde said, "We had to show our faces after such a tough defeat (3-0 against Roma)".

Philippe Coutinho was the star for Barcelona with two assists although fellow expensive signing Ousmane Dembele was left on the bench and gave away a penalty when he came on late in the game.

With heavy rain falling in the city all day, 30,000 seats at the 99,000-capacity Nou Camp were unoccupied and even when Suarez provided a slick finishing touch to Coutinho's wonderful pass, celebrations were muted.

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"The sensation is that we have failed, that we have disappointed the supporters but we have to look forward and not lose sight of what we can still achieve this season".

Valencia had chances to level the scores, with Goncalo Guedes and Rodrigo Moreno wasting clear opportunities, before the under-fire Umtiti responded to his critics by heading in the second goal after 51 minutes. I have to congratulate the players for doing so, it wasn't easy. "Today we played against the third-placed team, and we won".

Coutinho was forced to sit out of Barcelona's midweek Champions League exit because he is cup tied, but the midfielder was delighted to return to help his side take one giant step towards securing the league title.

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Villarreal are sixth on 48 points, Sevilla are seventh on 47, with Betis fifth on 52 after winning 1-0 at Girona on Friday.