Valdes hails Martino reign

Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has hailed his side's start to life under new boss Gerardo Martino.

The Argentine coach took charge of his first competitive fixture since taking the reins from Tito Vilanova on Sunday, as the Catalan club began the defence of their La Liga crown with a 7-0 victory against Levante.

And Valdes has expressed delight with Barca's performance in the rout, citing their relentless pressing as key to the win.

"It has been one of the best starts. You can see the team is intense, defending much higher to recover the ball and moving quickly to the opposition goal. It was what the coach wanted," he said.

The 31-year-old also revealed his belief that Barca have regained their identity following a difficult 2012-13 campaign in which Vilanova's health was a constant source of worry.

"Last year was unusual with the illness of the coach and certain aspects could not work because of what happened with Tito," he added.

"To begin in this way is good. We have recovered aspects of the past and we hope that it will continue this way."

Valdes went on to discuss Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti's decision to omit Iker Casillas from his starting line-up for the opening game of the season - with Diego Lopez starting in his place.

"It surprises me. In the Confederations Cup we saw how good and focused he is," he continued.

"I have seen him make saves that I did not think possible. For me, he is the best, but I cannot say more because it is not my squad."