Ernesto Valverde has been talking to the press ahead of facing Real Madrid for the second time this week at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Barcelona boss spoke about Los Blancos, Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele, as well as the prospect of facing Valencia in the Copa del Rey final.
Here are the best bits:
Valverde on Real Madrid
It’s difficult to repeat a result against the same opponent, but we will try to win because the league demands it. When you win, you gain confidence, but when you lose you want to reverse that, so it will be a tough match.
Valverde on Arthur
Arthur is a player who can do a lot to help us. A lot depends on his fitness. He came on for a little while the other day so we’ll see
Valverde on Dembele
Football is about balance. Some players need to take risks at certain times in a game because they’re forwards it’s their job to take on players and take risks. Sometimes they are the ones who need to decide what to do over the final third.
Dembele is player who does a lot for us. He’s a great dribbler, he’s very quick, he has to make decisions quickly, let’s hope he makes the right decision more often than the wrong ones.
Valverde on Messi
He’s the same Messi as always. You always expect a lot because he’s so decisive, sometimes he seems less involved but that’s got a lot to do with how the team plays. There are times when the team as a whole wasn’t playing well, but we really need to work to get him involved.
Valverde on Vidal
He’s a player who is doing a lot for us. He helps the team a lot, he can play at any time, he’s played in some important games, maybe not as a starter but he’s come on a lot. He’s a player we find very useful, I certainly have no criticism of him.
Valverde on facing Valencia in the Copa del Rey final
We have a lot of respect for Valencia, we haven’t beaten them this season, we’ve drawn twice. Valencia are having a good season. They started poorly and they’ve been getting better. It’s going to be a difficult opponent and I congratulate them on reaching the final. I think it’s an attractive final for everybody. they have a clear system of playing, so yes it’s something to look forward to.