Ernesto Valverde has been talking ahead of Thursday’s Copa del Rey semi-final first leg against Valencia and had plenty to say about his side’s opponents.
The Barca boss also talked about some of his players and confirmed Sergio Busquets is fit after recovering from illness.
Here are the best bits...
Valverde on Valencia
“Now you’re at thie stage, you’re on the verge of the final and you want to throw everything into it
”It’s vital to put in a good performance in the first leg because they are very strong in Mestalla. It will be important not to concede. It’s an open tie and an attractive one for both teams. It will be tough for both sides.
“They are probably the best team in the league on the counter. I’m sure they will try to use that against us, as Alaves did the other day. We need to look and see where things went right. We need to be careful with counter attacks.
“They are a team that is one game away from the cup final. Any team in a semi is going to be dangerous. They will do everything they can.”
Valencia on Busquets’ fitness
“I’ve spoken to him. He’s well, him and Andres Gomes have been ill. I think Gomes’s situation is a little more delicate but Busquets is fine.”
Valverde on Coutinho
“Coutinho’s a player that does well in several positions. He can play as a playmaker, to the left like at Liverpool or to the right like for Brazil. And with both Liverpool and Brazil he has done well.
”That’s why we have signed him. He can help us in attack. He is versatile and can play in various positions.”
Valverde on Gerard Deulofeu’s exit
“These circumstances can occur, He really wanted it when he arrived.
”He has had chances to prove himself. It didn’t come out as he would have liked so we spoke to him and it was best for him to go out and enjoy more minutes.
”Especially considering that there is a World Cup and that he can be an alternative. I am happy with him on a personal level for how he has been here.”
Valverde on Aleix Vidal
“There has been a lot of speculation about him. He is not a starter, but he helps the team regularly. Three players that played in the same position have left, so it’s good that he’s staying.”