Ernesto Valverde has faced the press once again ahead of Barcelona’s trip to Girona and appeared in a pretty good mood as he faced a whole range of questions.
He seemed to hint Luis Suarez would return on Saturday, that Lionel Messi would of course start but also warned his team they would have to be careful against Girona.
Here are the best bits...
Valverde on Luis Suarez
“After his injury Luis Suárez played almost every game and that was why he was rested on Tuesday.
“Let's see how he responds in training, but we assume that he will do well. That was the idea."
Valverde on Girona
“It’s a derby, we have to be up to the challenge, we know it will be an emotional game.
“It’s a game they will have had marked on their calender, as well as us, we played the last one against Espanyol at home, this time we are away, they are at home where they will have extra motivation.
“They played well against both Malaga and Atletico. They are optimistic but they are playing well so we have to be careful.
“Regardless of the festive atmosphere we have to be very careful.”
Valverde on Deulofeu
“Gerard’s style of play is one that he likes to take risks out on the field, he likes to create an imbalance on the field in our favour and in the final third we want him to be decisive.
“Sometimes he plays better sometimes less so, we need to let him play, relax and take care of things.”
Valvede on goals from Paulinho and Denis Suarez
“We always want to dominate the game, our midfielders besides trying to bring the ball up the field, have to get to the area because that's where you score.
“We have several players who have played more offensive positions in other teams, like Denis Suarez, Paulinho, Andre Gomes, Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Arda Turan too.
“It’s not just playing in your position it’s bringing the ball up so someone can score. Yes it’s a priority for us and for players to get in those positions to score.”
Valverde on Mascherano
“Mascherano is very important for our team from every point of view. I’d have to check the numbers, but last year there were games he played and other he didn’t.
“He’s an important player and he's going to play. He’s involved with the team and I think he looks good.”
Valverde on Yeray Álvarez
“For me it brings me great happiness because of what he means to Athletic and knowing what it takes to find a player like Yeray.
“I’ve shared a lot of things with him. It makes me happy and it makes a lot of people happy to overcome a situation like that.
“I would love him to be out on the field when we play Athletic.”