Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has admitted he will need to bring more silverware to the club in order to see out the new contract he signed on Friday.
Valverde has committed his future to the club for another season with an option for a further year, which would take him to four years in charge if he remains until the summer of 2021.
Barca go into Saturday’s game against Real Valladolid leading rivals Real Madrid by six points in LaLiga with 15 games to go, and Valverde knows his new deal does not reduce the pressure to keep delivering trophies.
“Intentions are always for the best but we know what football is like,” he said. “The results matter. Everything is uncertain. I understand that the club sees the results and trusts more will arrive with me.
“When we talk about the (contract length) it is because you’ve done well or you’re expected to do well. In any club it’s because things have gone well. In order to get to four years we are obliged to win, to collect titles.
“It’s the only way to be able to continue, I am clear about that.”
Victory over Valladolid would be a welcome way to celebrate Valverde’s new contract, particularly given Barca have drawn their last two league games to lose momentum at a time when the Champions League round of 16 clash with Lyon and the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Real Madrid are looming.
“We have started an important sequence of matches,” he said. “We haven’t forgotten we have drawn the last two games in the league, so now we have four important matches which can be the decisive part of our season.”
Valladolid travel to the Nou Camp just three points above the relegation zone. While few will give them much hope of taking anything from the game, coach Sergio Gonzalez has told his players to approach the game like they would any other.
“We follow the same methodology, the same planning with the same desire as in other games, even knowing the circumstances and their importance,” he said. “We want to play a good game even if we know its difficulty.”
Gonzalez joked that he would be happy to see Valverde make wholesale changes to his side given the run of fixtures Barca have on the horizon.
“I hope Ernesto Valverde decides to rotate, though we must prepare to face his best players,” he said.
“When I was a player I wanted to face the best, but as a coach I would prefer it if they rested (Lionel) Messi.”
He seems unlikely to get his wish given Barcelona will be keen to keep Madrid and everybody else at arm’s length.
“We have had the usual competitors,” Valverde said. “Real Madrid, Atletico, Valencia, Sevilla…We are not afraid to go first.”