Ernesto Valverde has faced the press ahead of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash with Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.
The Barcelona boss gave little away about the fitness of Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele and said he’d have to wait to see how they fared in training.
Here are the best bits:
Valverde on Messi
I haven’t seen Messi today, so I don’t have an answer. We will see how he is in training. The most important thing is the player telling you that he is ready.
No matter what the tests say, if the player doesn’t feel ready, you have to leave him out. If he tells you he’s okay, you talk to the doctors and then you take the decision.
I am not in favour of taking risks if there are lots of games ahead as there is risk of injury; in a match like tomorrow you can’t play with a broken hand, for instance. If he’s fit, he’ll be on the list; if he’s not, he won’t.
Valverde on Dembele
Let’s see what happens in training. Yesterday he trained alone, not with the group. We will have to see what sensations he has after today’s session.
Valverde on Real Madrid
It’s an open tie, we have great players and they do too, some of the best in the world. It’s a special game. It’s a semi-final and playing against Madrid is another incentive to reach the final.
At the Camp Nou, Real Madrid usually play good games and although in the league game we were superior and they were in a delicate emotional moment, we expect Madrid to be at their best.
Valverde on Cillessen
The day he got injured, he was in a bad emotional state as he was very excited for the semi-final. Now he’s calmer and he’s an important player for us, but it’s a shame because of the level he was showing.