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Ernesto Valverde talks Samuel Umtiti, Arthur and injuries ahead of Villarreal

The boss has faced the press

FC Barcelona v Real Betis Balompie - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has been talking ahead of Sunday’s La Liga clash with Villarreal at the Camp Nou.

Valverde spoke at length about Samuel Umtiti’s current situation, the possibility of him undergoing surgery and Barcelona potentially buying some defensive cover in January.

He also talked about other injuries in the squad, Carles Alena and Sergi Samper and Villarreal. Here are the best bits...

Valverde on Umtiti

Umtiti is a very important player for us. We hope he will be able to recover and help us throughout the season. It is important in these cases that the player feels safe when he makes a decision.

He has to think about what is best for him. We’ll have to see how things work out, it’s not a simple situation but that’s what we’ve got. It’s the player who ultimately has the last word.

Until the transfer window comes along we have to go with the players we’ve got and the B team. But we’ll see how Umtiti’s injury develops over the next few weeks, let’s be optimistic and hope he’s back sooner rather than later and we can use him. We don’t really know if we will have to go the the market or not. Thankfully we have time.

Valverde on whether Umtiti will need an operation

This month we have to define these things. Umtiti’s recovery is being very closely monitored and we’ll also be helping with the decision. We do know there’s a winter transfer window coming up. So we’ll need to look at the situation, we can’t wait for five months, we need a strong team. We think we’ll get Umtiti back before the end of the season.

Valverde on injuries

Vermaelen did some training yesterday, we’ll see if he can do the full session today, but yes he’s pretty much ready to come back. As for the others. Arturo took a knock against PSV, Arthur as well should be able to train OK today, Rafinha is clear, there’s Cillessen as well hopefully this week he’ll be able to work his way back. Arthur I can’t really tell you until after training today. You’ll find out when I announce my squad

Valverde on Barcelona’s defence

Of course [it’s a concern] it would be nice to let in fewer goals but any first division manager will say that, even the one with the best defensive record. Looking at tomorrow’s game we must stop the other team having chances and if we look at our last league game we did that very well. Look at the chances we created against PSV, you have to strike a balance between creating chances and scoring them

Valverde on Alena and Samper

Alena has been picked quite regularly in the squads and the idea is that after he’ll be able to get chances and take chances, that’s what I think they both have to do. We’ve got a lot of competition in midfield with Vidal and Arthur as well, who’s settled in so well, they have to battle with those players for a place.

Valverde on Villarreal

Tomorrow’s game is very important for us, I’m not going to deny that. We drew with Atletico, Sevilla have now moved top, we want to get back to the top. To do that we have to win tomorrow.

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