Barcelona will be very happy with their work last week after picking up two wins against arch-rivals Real Madrid.
The first came in the Copa del Rey thanks to a second-half rout that saw them score three times to reach the cup final.
Another victory at the Bernabeu followed just days later when Ivan Rakitic's classy chip was enough to separate the two sides in La Liga.
Many of the plaudits will go to Luis Suarez and Rakitic for providing the decisive goals in the two fixtures, but according to reports from Spain, it was the coach who really inspired victory.
Marca suggest that Valverde played a decisive role in ensuring Barca came out on top in both games thanks to two key team talks he gave last week.
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The first came at half-time of the cup semi-final when the score was 0-0 and the tie was in the balance.
AN ANGRY RESPONSE
"Valverde was visibly frustrated at half-time last Wednesday as the Barcelona defence had got away with conceding chance after chance to Los Blancos," Marca wrote.
"It was a miracle that Barcelona went into the break with a clean sheet still intact. Valverde was tough with his words and the players knew that he was right."
Of course, the Blaugrana turned things around with three second-half goals but even then, Valverde's anger did not pass, and he told his players 'you need to improve things' post-match.
That half-time talk set the standard for the second fixture and according to Marca, the final team meeting he held before Saturday's match was even more inspiring.
THE FINAL TALK
"It took place at the team's hotel base in Madrid before heading to the Santiago Bernabeu," the Spanish paper revealed.
"The talk itself was intense and motivational as he reiterated the feelings that came out of the encounter on Wednesday night."
Apparently, Valverde asked for more 'rhythm and pressure' and told all of his players to run more, in order to nullify the threat of Real forward Vinicius Jr and suffocate Madrid in their own half.
Barca did exactly that in the hard-fought 1-0 win on Saturday evening, proving that the coach's tactics worked to perfection.
Normally, it's the likes of Lionel Messi, Suarez and Rakitic who get the praise when the team wins, but the two Clasico victories prove that Valverde is very important to Barca.News Now - Sport News