The Argentina pulled out of Barcelona's game this weekend at the last minute as wife Antonella Roccuzzo went into labour.
Samu was shown a red card after he made a reckless tackle on Jordi Alba and that ended any hopes, if at all, of Malaga to gain anything from the game. "I think it would be an error to think the Chelsea game is more important for us", he told reporters at his pre-match presser.
The game continued vastly in favor of Barcelona with Coutinho nonchalantly flicking the ball past a caught out Roberto at his near post, after a simple pass in from OusmaneDembele, giving the Catalans a deserved second.
"Dembele's a player that needs time, he's young", Valverde added.
"Today is yet another step forward for him".
Despite the 15-point deficit, Valverde is not ruling Los Blancos out of contention just yet.
Following on from the Champions League victory over Paris St Germain, another success for Zinedine Zidane's side means they have won eight of their last nine matches across all competitions.
"They will remain to be a rival until the maths of the table suggest otherwise". The hosts were finding it already too hard to get an openning and they were further delivered a blow by the referee in the 30th minute.
It was a routine display from Ernesto Valverde's men as they totally dominated the game from the kick off at Estadio La Rosaleda.
Lopez's team were sadly showing plenty of signs of a team severely lacking in confidence at such a crucial time of the season and an inability to take their chances proved costly.