Lionel Messi

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde was delighted to leave Levante with an emphatic 5-0 win given his side’s travails in the same game last season.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick and assisted goals for Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique as LaLiga’s leaders restored their three-point cushion at the top on Sunday.

Messi was rested for this fixture in May, in which Barca were beaten 5-4 and saw their hopes of going an entire league campaign without defeat dashed.

And Valverde was thrilled to earn some measure of revenge against a Levante side who are only three points outside the top five after 16 games.

“I’m happy because we conceded five here last year and that was after a whole season without losing, and it was only a few months ago,” he told a news conference.

“They’re having a great season and they showed that when they came out against us. I’m leaving here particularly satisfied.”