Barcelona's Ernesto Valverde cites Johan Cruyff in defending tactics

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has hit back at criticism over his team's running statistics by suggesting he is following the philosophy instilled at the club by the late Johan Cruyff.

Barca ran fewer kilometres than any other team in the Champions League last week. Valverde's side ran just 100.4 km, while opponents Slavia Prague travelled 115.2 km across the 90 minutes.

It was the third consecutive European game in which the Blaugrana have been outrun by their opponents. Inter (114.9km vs. 104.6km) and Borussia Dortmund (107.4 km vs. 104.2) also covered more ground than them.

- Messi: I prefer to start on bench than be a sub

Valverde, though, has insisted the data is irrelevant for possession-based sides amid widespread condemnation of his team's work ethic in the local press. To make his point, he alluded to the club's popular former player and manager, Cruyff.

"I know a lot has been said about that but the statistic itself isn't significant," the coach said in a news conference ahead of Tuesday's league game against Real Valladolid.

"We're a team that usually has possession. I had a coach who told me that we should run less than the opposition; that they should be doing all the running. He has a statue by Camp Nou now and a stadium named after him across the road [from the training ground]."

Barca also faced criticism from within following that narrow 2-1 win in Prague, which left them top of their Champions League group with seven points from their three games, despite their inferior running stats.

After the win in the Czech Republic, goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen called for improvements and suggested a team meeting was needed to analyse why they had played so poorly.

"When games finish, each person has a sense of what's gone on," Valverde added. "When that game ended, we were all caught a little bit cold because the [last] five minutes were really stressful.

"In respect to what Marc said, if anything needs to be resolved, it has to be done so internally, not in public."

Barca return to La Liga action on Tuesday after a free weekend following the decision to postpone the Clasico against Real Madrid due to the ongoing protests in the city following the jailing of nine Catalan separatists. That allowed Granada to move above them at the top of the table.

Ousmane Dembele is suspended for the visit of Valladolid, while Samuel Umtiti is likely to miss out again with a groin injury. Valverde said there could be "some changes" with three games coming up in seven days. Ansu Fati is among the candidates to come into the side.