Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has admitted the Blaugrana are not playing their best football despite an unbeaten start to the 2017-18 season, but he said they are “constructing a winning team” under new manager Ernesto Valverde.
The Spain international also hinted Barca are still adjusting to life without Neymar after the Brazilian left for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, per Radio Marca (via Sport):
“We know it [not playing superbly]and have taken it on board. We lost a very important player, we’ve changed the system and that gives you some things and takes away others. But the important thing is to be compact, we are constructing a winning team.
“We have gone on a very good run. We’re not playing brilliantly, but we are solid and compact. It’s very hard to score against us. And we are very happy.“
The Catalan giants sit four points clear at the top of La Liga after winning 10 and drawing one of their opening 11 matches.
They are unbeaten in 16 games having not lost a game since their Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid back in August.
In their 11 La Liga games so far Barcelona have netted 30 goals, but it is true they are not playing the immaculate attacking football as they have so often in the past.
With Neymar having departed and Luis Suarez lacking his usual goalscoring touch—he has not scored in five matches—Lionel Messi has been relied upon to provide the attacking threat for Valverde’s side.
The superlative Argentinian has scored 15 goals in 15 matches in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, per WhoScored.com.
Today’s @mundodeportivo front page—Messi has the same number of La Liga goals as Benzema, Ronaldo, Bale, Isco and Asensio combined this season 👀 https://t.co/zssxA7xZ90
As noted by Busquets, Barca have been difficult to break down so far in 2017-18, conceding only four goals in La Liga and one in four matches in the Champions League.
They are a different side under Valverde to what they were under previous manager Luis Enrique.
Gone is the 4-3-3 spearheaded by Suarez, Messi and Neymar. More often than not recently Valverde has opted for a 4-4-2 system with Messi and Suarez playing together in attack.
While Busquets has admitted it is not yet producing the most spectacular performances, it is providing impeccable results for the Blaugrana.