Valverde targets final after Reds win
Ernesto Valverde has set his sights on going all the way to the Champions League final after Barcelona knocked out Manchester United.
Barca outclassed United in the quarter-final second leg at the Nou Camp with a 3-0 win on the night, sealing a 4-0 aggregate triumph.
Lionel Messi's first-half double - the first a trademark finish, the second courtesy of a blunder from David De Gea - plus Philippe Coutinho's 61st-minute wonder goal did the job.
The win sets up a potential semi-final showdown against Liverpool, who lead Porto 2-0 from the first leg, and Valverde is happy to be back in the final four after last year's shock exit against Roma.
"We are very excited," he said. "It's been a while since we were in the semi-finals – now we'd love to get to the final. We are confident, but we know that five bad minutes can leave you eliminated.
"[Messi] played great football and his goals changed the way the game was going. But I'm not going to apologise to our rivals because we've got Messi and they don't!"
Messi also hailed the performance and says they were at the top of their game after recovering from a slow start to the game.
"It was spectacular," Messi said after the win. "This is what we are. In the first five minutes, we went in a little cold and nervous – but from then on the goals came and we put in a spectacular performance."
Michael Holland is a reporter with over two decades of journalism experience. A Bolton fan, Michael often writes football articles, as well as having a strong knowledge of golf, cricket and Australian sports.