Barcelona duo Lionel Messi & Luis Suarez still back Ernesto Valverde despite Atletico loss

Lionel Messi has offered his support to Ernesto Valverde

Questions are once again being asked about Ernesto Valverde's job as Barcelona manager after last night's Spanish Supercopa semi-final loss to Atletico Madrid.

The Blaugrana were the far superior team for much of the game out in Saudi Arabia, but careless mistakes late in the day saw them surrender a 2-1 advantage to lose 3-2.

Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann scored the goals to cancel out Koke's opener, but a penalty from Alvaro Morata and a late strike from Angel Correa sealed Barca's fate.

The La Liga leaders also had two goals correctly chalked off by VAR in the second half in what was an enthralling encounter.

It was actually one of Barcelona's most impressive performances of the season and that has prompted Messi and Luis Suarez to offer their support to Valverde.

Messi said in his post-match interview, per Sport: "Yes, there's complete confidence in the coach. We're already thinking about the second half of the season. We have a lot to improve. We're top of the league, but we're not playing well and we need to get back on our game. We took a step forward today in that sense, looking beyond the defeat.

"We can't commit schoolboy mistakes like we did. It's normal that when there's a loss, when you don't meet your objectives or you don't play like we like to play, everything's going to be spoken about. We have to be more united than ever and stay strong as a group."

The Argentine's partner-in-crime, Suarez, then backed up his comments, saying Valverde was 'not to blame' for the defeat.

Suarez said, per Sport: "It's not to do with us, it's the club's situation, but the manager isn't to blame. Mistakes and distractions at certain moments cost us.

Suarez in action vs Atletico

"Whether we win, lose or draw, we always have to be self-critical. Especially when we lose. We have to work hard to make sure we don't make the same mistakes."

ANALYSIS

GiveMeSport's Danny Ryan says:

The big stars may be backing him and fair enough, but the reality is that this extremely talented Barcelona side needs a new conductor to maximise it's potential.

One promising performance - which resulted in defeat - should not offer any respite for Valverde and Barca may have to ditch their managerial ethos to progress.

They don't sack managers like Real Madrid, but they need to toughen up in that department if they finally want to win Messi his fifth Champions League trophy anytime soon.

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