Ernesto Valverde
Valverde has made an encouraging start to life at Barcelona. Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde, a silent hero in among the global superstars of football, has achieved his first success since he was appointed as Barcelona manager. The former Olympiakos, Espanyol, Valencia and Athletic Club de Bilbao manager has secured Barcelona's best ever start of a season in their history, after taking 25 points from a possible 27 in La Liga. Valverde is in esteem company, matching the likes Louis van Gaal, Tito Vilanova and Tata Martino who all won eight and drew one of their opening nine top flight matches.

But is it just a case of an inspired Lionel Messi or is Valverde truly responsible for this wonderful streak? Signs the Spaniard can be held responsible are linked with the license given to Messi on the field.

Former boss Luis Enrique tried to exploits the Argentine's passing ability during the last couple of seasons, and though he was able to shine in a deeper position, it is not where he is lethal.

Valverde told Messi to stop moving position to pick up possession, and since day one of the season, Barça's number 10 has been relinquished of these responsibilities. The result: 15 goals in 14 appearances in all competitions.

True to his style, Valverde - who celebrated 100 days in charge on Friday [19 October] - has offered his club more versatility when it comes to tactics. The Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar era is over so Barcelona's 4-3-3 has been ditch. Instead a move fluid 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 has been deployed, with Nelson Semedo and Jordi Alba given significant responsibility on either flank, leaving space for the club's lethal forward line.

But this has not come at the cost of more risk-taking. Barcelona have the best defensive record in Spain's top division, having shipped just three times. Valverde has regularly been praised for his defensive organisation during his managerial career and that remains a key factor at the Nou Camp.

After all the controversy surrounding Neymar's world record move to Paris Saint-Germain, Valverde's calm demeanour in press conference and in the dressing room has given Barcelona the platform to regain stability; a key asset in the modern game. Valverde will not make headlines with throwaway remarks, but instead demands respect from his players.

Four managers in Barcelona's history have managed to win eight of their opening nine games, with only Tata Martino unable to win the title in the same season. However, Valverde highlighted last week that "it is good to have such good results but things change from one day to the next overnight, lets cross fingers and keep working," true to his pragmatic style.

But no one more than Valverde knows how important is to start like a rocket when you arrive to such a giant club, as results can dispel doubts among the fans. Such concerns were unfair with the Basque coach having been one of the best managers in Spain over the last decade. It is difficult to stand out as a manager without a competitive team, like Formula One where it is impossible to succeed without a fast car.

During his tenure at Athletic Bilbao, he qualified for European competition four times in a row and won the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona. But upon his exit, Bibao are struggling under his successor José Ángel Ziganda. When it comes to understanding tactics, rotating and changing games from the bench, Valverde is considered one of the most talented managers in Spain.

Despite all the additional difficulties involving Athletic's idiosyncrasies, they also reached the Copa del Rey final in 2015, losing 3-1 to Barcelona, before taking Espanyol to a Europa League final - losing to Sevilla on the penalties. In Greece he won three league titles and two cup competitions with Olympiakos.

It is not a major surprise that he has enjoyed early success at Barcelona, at least during the first two months, now that he works alongside Messi, Suárez and Gerard Piqué. But this F1 car is faster than any other. If he manages to deal with egos in the changing room, he might succeed in Barcelona against the odds.

Lionel Messi
Messi has already netted 15 goals this season to underpin Valverde's success. Getty Images