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Ernesto Valverde talks Ousmane Dembele, Malcom and Lionel Messi ahead of Real Betis clash

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The latest from the Barcelona boss

Cultural Leonesa v FC Barcelona - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde has given his thoughts ahead of Sunday’s La Liga clash with Real Betis at the Camp Nou.

The big news is that Ousmane Dembele has been left out of the squad, so Valverde unsurprisingly faced a barrage of questions about the young Frenchman.

He also spoke about Malcom, injuries to Lionel Messi and Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jordi Alba’s Spain recall.

Here are the best bits.

Valverde on Ousmane Dembele

The decision to leave Dembele out isn’t a punishment. Sometimes people have to be left out. He’s been a headliner in other games but this week he isn’t going to be called up.

Sometimes a lot depends on their talent, attitude, commitment a lot of different factors play a role. When a player comes to a team it may affect them how much they cost, but for us it’s a question of just getting into the right dynamic.

I’ve said so many times, Dembele has an incredible talent and we want him to show that. He’s a great player and we are expecting great things from him, I don’t really have anything else to say.

Valverde on Malcom

He’s taken some time to break into the team but he’s had a wonderful attitude, we think he still has lots to learn, but it’s a long season and he will get chances. The fact he came on and scored generates some sort of security and I think we shold take advantage of that moment.

Valverde on Messi injury

You have to be a little more careful and take care of a player that just returned from injury. But if a player is on the list it’s because there is no risk and he is in good condition to face a game. I think he’s lost his fear of taking a fall and provoking further injury. I think that’s out of his head, it does affect you mentally. it does happen with these injuries when it’s not your foot. I think he’s OK.

Valverde on Ter Stegen

We are keeping a careful eye on Marc at the moment, but he is able to play tomorrow. He doesn’t have any problems, obviously we’ll keep a close eye on him as we’ve been doing in recent weeks.

Valverde on Alba

He’s always been a very important part of the team. He’s started the season in spectacular fashion and returning to the international team is thoroughly deserved for all the hard work he has done.