Ansu Fati has 'something special', says Valverde

By Sports Desk September 14, 2019

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde described Ansu Fati as "something special" after the teenager starred in a 5-2 win over Valencia on Saturday.

Making his starting debut, Fati needed just seven minutes to have a major impact at Camp Nou, opening the scoring before setting up Frenkie de Jong for Barca's second.

Fati, aged 16 years and 318 days, became the youngest player to score as a starter in LaLiga history, and the youngest player to both score and assist in a LaLiga game in the 21st century.

Valverde lauded the teenager – who has scored two LaLiga goals for Barca – for his performance, saying it was beyond expectations.

"He is a player who has something special. For his age it seems that he is more mature," he told Movistar. 

"What you see in training is what you see here. Today was something exaggerated – goal, give one assist and almost score another."

Fati set up Barca's victory before a second-half goal from Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez brace lifted Valverde's side onto seven points from four LaLiga games.

Amid the excitement around Fati, Valverde played down comparisons to superstar Lionel Messi, who is sidelined with a calf injury.

"I'm not worried about the comparison," he said.

"The ball is going to be very big and we have to take care of deflating it."

Barcelona sit fourth in what is a congested top half of the table, trailing Atletico Madrid (nine points), Real Madrid (eight) and Athletic Bilbao (eight).

As for his side's performance, Valverde praised Barca's second-half display at home.

"The best thing is that we have come out with determination, to try to score and arrive," he said.

"Sometimes we were in danger of putting a lot forward and leaving room for counters. They have fast players. We have done a good second half."

Barcelona are back in action on Tuesday, visiting Borussia Dortmund in their opening game in the Champions League this season.

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