Barcelona's Ernesto Valverde feels supported despite talk of unrest

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde insists he still feels supported by the club after coming in for criticism in the wake of an unexpected midweek loss to Leganes.

Valverde also defended the attitude of his players after they dropped five points in just four days. A draw with Girona at Camp Nou on Sunday preceded Wednesday's surprise 2-1 defeat at Butarque, allowing Real Madrid to move level with them at the top of the table.

It is only a week since the Barca boss was being pressed on how talks over a new contract are progressing with his two-year deal due to expire at the end of the season -- he has the option to extend it for a further year.

However, talk over a new deal has been replaced by discussions over his short-term future following a disappointing week which saw Barca give up their 100 percent start to the season.

"Of course I feel backed [by the club]," he said in a news conference on Friday before adding that he is "feeling fine" despite the scrutiny he has been under.

Barca went unbeaten until the penultimate game of last season, but the Leganes defeat came just six games into the new campaign.

Valverde has been the target of much of the criticism which has followed but the players have also had their attitude during the game called into question.

"People are free to think what they want," Valverde said when that was put to him. "I won't get involved. I know there's an open bar when we lose and anything goes, but that doesn't worry me.

"My team has always shown an extraordinary attitude. From there, we all make mistakes -- the players and me.

"There were spells against Leganes when we played well, just like there were moments in the win against PSV [Eindhoven] which we think need improving. I don't think there's too much difference from one week to the next."

Barca have the chance to put things right on Saturday when they host Valverde's former side, Athletic Bilbao, at Camp Nou.

Centre-back Clement Lenglet returns from a one-game ban and is set to partner Gerard Pique in the middle of defence after Samuel Umtiti was left out of the squad with a knee injury.

Umtiti will also miss the midweek Champions League game against Tottenham through suspension but Valverde hopes he could be back for the match at Valencia on Oct. 7.

"Umtiti has a knee problem and can't play [against Athletic]," Valverde said. "Then he's suspended on Wednesday [against Spurs].

"From there, we will see how the injury evolves and when he'll be able to come back. We think it's just a niggle and that he will be back with us soon."