Valverde's future not up for debate despite Barcelona's poor start to 2020

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Ernesto Valverde's future at Barcelona has not yet been called into question by club officials, despite a sluggish start to the new year.

The reigning Spanish champions took in a trip to Estadio Cornella-El Prat to face Espanyol on January 4, following a two-week rest over the winter break in Spain.

Barca held a two-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of the Liga standings prior to the contest, but saw that gap closed after being held to a 2-2 draw.

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The Blancos beat Getafe 3-0 on the same day and are now only behind their arch-rivals on goal difference after 19 fixtures of the 2019-20 campaign.

Valverde's men have also missed the chance to pick up some much-needed silverware, after crashing out of the Supercopa de Espana at the semi-final stage.

The Blaugrana came up against Atletico Madrid in Saudi Arabia, and seemed to be heading towards the final after establishing a 2-1 lead thanks to goals from Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

However, Atletico scored twice in the final 10 minutes to emerge with a 3-2 victory to set up a final meeting with local rivals Real - who won their last four tie 3-1 against Valencia on Wednesday.

Barca's exit has heaped more pressure on Valverde, whose position at the helm has come under intense scrutiny ever since a Champions League exit at the hands of Liverpool last season.

The club are due to hold a board meeting at Camp Nou on Monday, but Goal has learned that Valverde's future will not be among the topics of discussion.

The Spaniard will be allowed to see out the remaining six months on his contract, and he has the option of a further year beyond that should he wish to continue in charge.

Valverde admitted after Barca's defeat to Atletico that sack talk is inevitable while results are going against his side, but he remains fully committed to doing his job and trying to take the club forward.

Former Barca midfielder Xavi, who is currently coaching Al-Sadd in Qatar, has been tipped as a potential replacement, with reports suggesting that director of football, Eric Abidal, is set to meet with the 39-year-old in the coming days regarding a potential role at Camp Nou next season.

It has also been revealed that Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman has a clause in his contract that would allow him to take the Barcelona managerial job after Euro 2020 should he be offered the job.

For now, Valverde's next task will be to get the team back to winning ways in La Liga, with Granada set to arrive at Camp Nou on January 19.

Barca have a crucial showdown against Valencia at the Mestalla to look forward to six days later, before opening their February schedule with a home fixture against Levante.