Ernesto Valverde has given a big interview to FC Barcelona where he’s talked about a range of issues after a rollercoaster 2019 for the club.
The Barcelona offered his thoughts on his key players including his attackers, new signings and Ousmane Dembele’s injury.
The whole interview is available here, but here’s a round-up of what he had to say about his key players.
Valverde on Messi
It’s impossible not to miss Messi. When he came back [from injury], a player who hasn’t played or had pre-season either, obviously finds it a bit more difficult to pick up form but he quickly connected with us. I think he’s in form now, even when he’s not in form, he’s in form.
Leo is such a clear talent it’s difficult to find something else to say that has not been said. In terms of his play, in terms of his passing, it’s not just any old pass that he’ll play, it’s perfection - the perfect pass.
Valverde on Dembele
All injuries are unexpected and leave a bad taste because it’s a stop in a player’s career. This one has been especially cruel because he was very focused, very committted, he was working well. He has so many qualities that you want to see him out on the field, it looked like we were getting there and now it’s a big break for him. It’s a source of hurt for him mentally as well. He’s recovering, working hard.
Valverde on Griezmann
I can see him integrating more and more. It’s not easy for a player who has come from a totally different style of play in terms of training and competition. He’s a players who gives us a lot. He is not just a great goalscorer, he also provides assists and has a great work rate. For a team like us it’s important to have a player like that who can connect with the midfield and know when he he has to help the full-back. He’s doing a great job for us and we are very happy with him.
Valverde on Frenkie de Jong
He is a young player, who’s got lots of energy. He can go forwards and backwards on the pitch which means the team can join together a lot. He’s also got great organisational capabilities, he moves the ball well, he can always salvage high pressing with great runs. He performs at a very high level. I think he can still offer us more, in terms of playing faster and participating more in the final third. He can improve and we need to insist on that.