​Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde praised Carles Aleña, following the young midfielder's goalscoring performance against Villarreal on Sunday.

20-year-old Aleña, who was introduced off the bench, assured Barcelona of victory as he scored late on in a 2-0 win at Camp Nou.

The fact that the Catalan-born academy product was even on the bench for the game was largely down to injuries sustained by the likes of Sergi Roberto and Arthur. However, speaking after the game, Valverde hinted that Aleña may well have earned his place for future matches after bagging his first ever league goal for Barça.

Valverde said, via Marca: "It's a first goal for him...he has done more than enough to be in the first team.

"He's come on for us bringing a fresh impetus at a crucial stage of the game.

Valverde also praised the performance of the oft-criticised ​Ousmane Dembélé, who assisted the first goal of the game.

The manager said: "He's had a top game, he really stood out today. 

"He's got so many attributes...running in behind, shooting, speed, dribbling, poise, audacity; let's hope that he keeps this level going in the next few games [...] we're really happy with him today.

FC Barcelona v Villarreal - La Liga Santander

After former leaders Sevilla only managed a 1-1 draw away to Alaves on Sunday night, Barcelona moved to the top of La Liga. 

​Barcelona next face third-tier side Cultural Leonesa in the Copa Del Rey on Wednesday night. Their next La Liga fixture, on Saturday 8 December, sees them travel to Espanyol for the Catalan derby.