Ernesto Valverde held his final pre-match press conference of 2018 on Friday ahead of Saturday’s game against Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou.
As usual here are the best bits:
Valverde on Murillo
Well we know we’re in a delicate situation regarding centre-backs. Since the summer we’ve been working really with two at the same time. We had Umtiti’s injury, then Thomas Vermaelen was out for some time as well, so we’ve managed things quite well. But we don’t know how things will pan out, so we have another option. We’ve also got the B team as well.
The club insisted it would be a loan because we didn’t want to make a financial investment. The idea is for him to start playing immediately. He’s a player with a very good knowledge of European and Spanish football, so he should be able to adapt quickly, that’s the idea. It’s never easy for anyone, or for any club to find players in the market that are exactly what you need at the right time. We don’t get much time, but we’ve found a solution that I think is a very good one.
Valverde on January transfers
Until the 1st January the market doesn’t officially open. We’ll be keeping an eye on what’s going on, teams will be looking at our players, that’s how it works, so let’s see what happens. On January 5 things are one way and then on the 29th another, like we saw in the summer.
I can’t close the door on anything, I don’t know how things are going to develop. Let’s be cautious, in principle we are working with the squad we have, but hopefully no problems will arise, that we lose players and need to cover them.
Valverde on Adrien Rabiot
These are questions about other clubs. We don’t tend to poke our noses where they don’t belong, we have enough to worry about without worrying about other clubs. I’d rather not comment for that reason, it’s not up to me to talk about that player and that club.
Valverde on Nelson Semedo
Semedo should be available tomorrow. Sergi Roberto and Malcom trained but it’s a bit premature, I do not know if they will be with us tomorrow
Valverde on Celta Vigo
It’s a tricky game for many reasons. For a start they are a team that tends to play very well against Barca, we didn’t beat them at the Camp Nou last year. They’ve got great players, Iago Aspas, Maxi Gomez. It’s an important game, because it’s the last of the year, we want to maintain our lead in the league and it’s nice to give our fans a nice Christmas and New Year present.
Valverde on B team players’ prospects
We did look at those options of course, we’ve got two centre-backs, we can’t play a season with two or even three. We don’t know when Umtiti is going to be back. Vermaelen is out until mid-January at least, so we need cover in that part of the field. We want to have at least four centre-backs, so that brings the B team players into the equation too. Chumi, Cuena have been training with us too. But they are also playing games in the second division so we also have to think about those games too. We wanted a bit of security in the middle of defence and I think we’ve come up with a solution, but there’s still room for a B team player to come through. They are stil part of the plan.
Valverde on Umtiti return
I’d love to give a specific answer, but I don’t know. He is in permanent contact with the doctors and he is due to come here in a few days.
We want him back as soon as possible but I can’t give specific figures, I’m not a doctor and don’t understand these things. We just hope he will be back as soon as possible.