Ernesto Valverde was full of praise for midfield maestro Andres Iniesta following Barcelona's 5-1 victroy over Villarreal on Wednesday night, as Barcelona remain on course for a historic unbeaten domestic season.
Goals from Lionel Messi, Brazilian duo Paulinho and Philippe Coutinho and a double from Ousmane Dembele mean Barça are now just two games away from becoming the first team in La Liga history to record zero losses for an entire season.
After the win Valverde reserved special for the departing Iniesta, after another masterclass at the Camp Nou which saw him receive a standing ovation as he was substituted midway through the second half.
The Spanish coach reacted to Iniesta's display in his post-match press conference (via Sport):
"Iniesta teaches you a lesson in every game. We will miss him because he’s a unique player.
“There’s no else like him, they same with [Lionel Messi]. Of course we are going to miss him.”
The veteran midfielder will leave the Catalonia giants at the end of the season after making his announcement public last month.
Valverde was also effusive in his compliments of brace-scoring Ousmane Dembele, who has struggled amid injuries to set Camp Nou in fire in his debut season in La Liga. The former Dortmund attacker's second strike was lauded as 'incredible' by the man in the dugout.
“We have spoke many times about Dembele,” Valverde continued.
“He is player with a lot of talent: great technique, can use both feet, he’s quick, he’s got that spark, he unbalances defences.
“We think he can help us. He’s very young and he has a lot of time ahead of him still. All players need time to adapt, when you’re young there are things you need to learn, but the second goal he scored today was incredible.”