Ernesto Valverde to Barcelona's critics: I'm not going to 'apologise for winning'

BARCELONA -- Ernesto Valverde says he won't "apologise for winning" as he continues to deal with complaints about Barcelona's style of play despite leading his side on a 16-game unbeaten run.

Two goals from Paco Alcacer to the dramatic backdrop of thunder and lighting at Camp Nou on Saturday helped Barca beat Sevilla 2-1, restoring their four-point lead over Valencia at the top of La Liga in the process.

However, after the game, Valverde was asked if he agreed that Barca's results -- 10 wins and a draw from 11 games in the league -- have been much better than their performances this season.

"Generally, results come through the way you play," he said in a news conference. "First of all, you have to try to win, but we try to do that though dominating games, through high pressure and through winning the ball back. What we're not going to do is apologise for winning.

"At the moment we are top of the league, we're not dropping points and we go into the international break in good spirits. We have a difficult schedule ahead of us and to continue where we are then we have to be strong."

Lionel Messi made his 600th Barcelona appearance against Sevilla but he was upstaged by forgotten man Alcacer, who scored twice on his first La Liga start since August.

Alcacer started the first game of the season against Real Betis and came on as a substitute the following week at Alaves but had played just seven minutes in the league since then going into Saturday's match.

"Strikers live for goals," a delighted Alcacer told BeIN Spain after the game. "I started [at Barca] on a bad run but in the end the goals have gone in.

"I had to keep working hard and waiting for an opportunity [in the first team]. We all have to take advantage of the opportunities the coach gives us. I'm happy with my goals but more so for the result.

"More than my performance, we have to emphasise that the team fought really hard. Games that you suffer in, like this one, always boost the team. It's good that we're all plugged in."

Valverde, meanwhile, was happy to see someone other than Messi contributing, with Alcacer's brace a demonstration that Barca may be able to rely on their squad players this season as they bid to wrestle the title back from Real Madrid.

"Paco got two important goals and we hope that they give him the confidence that strikers need," the coach said. "We are happy with him and for the team.

"He has not played a lot and he has shown that he is a goalscorer and we are happy. I have a strong side here and anyone can come in and score. It is to the credit of the player that he can come in with the pressure on and perform."

It was another difficult night for Luis Suarez, though, who is now on his longest run without a goal for Barcelona since he joined the club in 2014.

It's been 451 minutes and five games since his header rescued a point against Atletico Madrid on Oct. 14, but Valverde opted to leave him on for the full 90 minutes again, instead removing Alcacer, who was on a hat trick.

"Paco had a very good game, but with all the defensive work he'd put in, he was tired," Valverde explained. "Luis was still fighting and I knew he'd get more chances. The goals will come, he's a goal scorer, but I also value what else he brings to the team."