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Valverde talks Busquets, Dembele, Rafinha and the Champions League ahead of Deportivo clash

The boss has been fielding questions again

Valencia v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Fotopress/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde has faced the press once again as Barcelona prepare for their final home game of the year against Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.

The Barca boss discussed a range of topics and, as usual, here are the best bits...

Valverde on Busquets at risk of missing El Clasico

“We know. But we never know how the match will go, but the points are worth the same against Depor as against Real Madrid and the most important game is tomorrow's. We need to think about that game and of course yellow cards can be drawn in the tunnel, on the bench, as well as on the pitch.”

Valverde on Dembele playing in El Clasico

“He's been training a lot more with the group this week, but he hasn't completed a training session yet. Next week we will be increasing his workload. The plan is the same as before, January is when we will be hoping he will come back. It would be premature to introduce him earlier, it would be risky.”

Valverde on Mascherano and Iniesta

“We are optimistic [they will be fit] but we have another training session today before we can make any specific verdict. Hopefully they can play.”

Valverde on Rafinha

“He's similar to Dembele. He’s been doing a heavier workload this week, joining in with the rondos and some of the group exercises. It's the normal patten for any long term injured player. He's been out for a long time and it’s not time for him to return yet. He still has a few more weeks of training. He's worked incrediblty hard, often on his own, which is really hard. He’s starting to get back into the team dynamic and everything seems to be going very well.”

Valverde on the Champions League

“I don't know who's going to win the Champions League this year. But whoever wins it it will be because they have a good enough squad. You saw the draw, there are some great teams there, we're excited about this tournament and hopefully we've got the squad and we can win it. “

Valverde on Ivan Rakitic

“He’s always done a really good job in [Busquets’] position. Against Sporting he did really well. Ivan's a great player in many different positions and one of those is Busquets' position. But we've also got Andre Gomes, other players who could take his place.”

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