Valverde challenges in-form Barcelona squad in 'important week'

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After losing the Supercopa de Espana, the Catalans have made a strong start to the season proper and their manager has called for more of the same

After producing a dazzling display against Juventus, Ernesto Valverde has challenged his Barcelona players to maintain their high standards when they return to La Liga action.

Barca have recorded four consecutive wins in all competitions under their new coach since losing both legs of the Supercopa de Espana to Real Madrid.

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They began their Champions League campaign on Tuesday with a resounding 3-0 triumph over Juve, gaining a modicum of revenge after the Serie A title-holders knocked them out of last season's competition at the quarter-final stage.

Now they focus again on domestic duties, starting with a trip to Getafe on Saturday. They then host Eibar in midweek before travelling to face promoted Girona next weekend.

"It's true that some [games] seem more attractive than others, but in this case – and I'm speaking for all the players - it's an important week," Valverde told the media.

"We've got nine points at stake. This kind of game, when you're away from home and you know your opponent has that extra motivation to pick up the three points, you cannot look back. You must keep looking forward.

"Football can change very quickly. We have to extend the form we are in at the moment, at least for the next few days."

While Barcelona go to Getafe next, Real Madrid face a tricky trip to San Sebastian to take on a Real Sociedad side who have won three from three in La Liga so far.

Zinedine Zidane's reigning champions have already dropped points in draws with Valencia and Leganes, meaning a further setback on Sunday could see them lose more ground on their rivals in the title race.

Valverde, however, is refusing to focus too much on the campaign's early results.

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"I think what happens with the rest of the teams doesn't really concern us that much, especially at the start of the season," he said.

"What we are worried about is consolidating our form and picking up points.

"We are relaxed, in the same way we were a month ago. Well, relaxed as you can be in the world of football."

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