Ernesto Valverde claimed to be satisfied with Barcelona's 2-0 victory against Athletic Bilbao, although he admitted that returning to the San Mames Stadium had been a hard challenge for him. 


Messi and teammates defeated the home side on Saturday night and took a three-point lead from Atletico and Real Madrid, contributing to a, so far, more than successful title race. 


The Blaugrana broke the deadlock thanks to captain Messi and then doubled their lead with Paulinho, although Athletic Bilbao gave a good account of themselves. 

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However, it was Valverde's return to La Catedral for the first time after leaving earlier this summer to become Enrique's successor at Barcelona, that was the focus of his attention. 


"The truth is that (returning to Bilbao) was a little stranger than I thought, before and during the game," he told cameras (via Sport). 


"I'm not used to the feeling that (the supporters) are pushing on the opposition, but that's how it is and you have to go through it. Now I can chat to all the familiar faces, which I didn't want to do before because that's not why we're here. But now, after the game, it's a bit more relaxed and we can catch up."

Despite eventually managing to net twice, Valverde felt that Barca were good value for their victory, although Bilbao did threaten to ruin his homecoming: "To win here you have to suffer, that's how it is. 


"It's the law of San Mames. It's what they say and when I was here on the other side we made the opposition suffer until the very end."


He continued: "We hit the post twice and we could have had a bigger lead. They had a clear chance as well with Aduriz when we got the (offside) line wrong. In the second half, Athletic pressed us hard and made it difficult."

The home side came close to netting several times during the second half, the most important chance being created by Raul Garcia, whose header unluckily hit the post and bounced away: 


"We gave the ball away a number of times and, without creating too many clear-cut chances, Athletic are always a threat when the ball is bouncing around the area.”