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Ernesto Valverde talks Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta ahead of El Clasico

The latest from the boss

Villarreal v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Fotopress/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde has given his final pre-match press conference ahead of Satuday’s trip to Real Madrid and has been talking all things El Clasico.

Here’s a look at the best bits....

Valverde on El Clasico

“We are looking forward to this game tomorrow because we know it’s a great chance for us to make up for what happened in the Super Cup and measure up against a direct rival. We go into the game in good form but they have hit some good form too and it will be an interesting game.

“We know you can't let your guard down for the tiniest little thing beause there are such extaordinary players on both teams. Any isolated incident or play can tip the game for or against your favour.

“We need to try to get the details to tip the balance towards us. We need to get more chances, that gives us a great chance to win the game. We really need to deal with the pressure, the deep pressure that really hurt us in the Super Cup.”

Valverde on if a win will end Madrid’s title hopes

“No certainly not. We don't talk about consequences until the game is over. There’s no point talking about what will happen if we win, draw or lose until the game is played. Whatever happens tomorrow there is a long run ahead and still a lot to be decided.

We haven't won yet, Atletico are just six points behind and if we don't win and they do, it will be three.”

Valverde on if Barcelona are favourites

“No I don’t think so. In these games the league table is the least important factor. They are very special games when the gap between the teams isn't important. They have home advantage, I wouldn’t say we were favourites.”

Valverde on giving Madrid a guard of honour

“This is something that years ago you used to do this symbolic way of welcoming players onto the pitch or a player who had won a particular award and it wasn't surrounded with all the media it is today.

“We respect what Real Madrid have done this year. But as for the guard of honour I don't think I ever did that as a player and never expected anyone to do it for me either. That tradition had been a lost a bit in Spanish football.”

Valverde on where the game will be won or lost

“Looking at the Super Cup games we lost that in the first half. They got straight into the game and we couldn't cope with the rapid rate that they went into the game. We made some errors, which they forced us into, we really need to get off to a good start.

“We need to gradually impose our rhythm on the game, we really need to try and win the game from the start. That's what I’m really looking at, but where it will actually be won or lost I don’t know.”

Valverde on if he expects Cristiano Ronaldo to play

“I’m sure he will be there. It’s an important game, he's an important player. We think he will be there because of how important he is to Madrid.”

Valverde on Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Keylor Navas

“The goalkeepers are very important of course, both are having good seasons. They are both going to have to bring out their very best tomorrow because of the frontlines of both teams. Both they and us have decisive players in attack so we really need to have the goalkeepers on full confidence I think that will be a fundamental factor tomorrow. Hopefully our goalkeeper will have less work to do”

Valverde on Andres Iniesta

“Andres is a very special, different player. He's a lot more relaxed about games than I am. He is a safety mechanism for us. He plays an important role in the dressing room and his connection with the fans and opposing fans as well. Let’s admit he is closer to retirement now but he’s been playing at the top for a long, long time. He generates respect and fear in opposing teams.”

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