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Valverde talks Pique, Messi and Iniesta ahead of Eibar clash

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FC Barcelona Press Conference Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde has been in the hotseat taking questions from the press ahead of tomorrow’s La Liga clash with Eibar.

The Barcelona boss didn’t give much away, insisting his side were focused on Eibar and not thinking about the Champions League clash with Chelsea yet.

Here are the best bits...

Valverde on Eibar

They are in good form at the moment. They had a poor start to the season but since then they have got into good rhythm and are in good form. They have a very distinct way of playing. They are not in the European places, but almost, and apart from that what they have is a way of playing and they know exactly what they are doing. It’s difficult to play aginst. They are very intense, they put a lot of crosses in. You have to know how to get around that pressure and try to hurt them.

Valverde on team selection

Tomorrow’s game is important, Tuesday’s is important too. But the only thing we are thinking about is tomorrow’s game. We needed this week to give us a bit of a break. Now we have to start again. We are not thinking about Tuesday’s game. After the Getafe match it’s even more important.

Valverde on Vermaelen and Pique

I will wait for the training session with regards to Pique, but he was available last week so we imagine he will be available. With Vermaelen we have to wait, if there’s any kind of doubt we won’t risk him.

Valverde on Iniesta to China

If that happens then we will think about it but I have nothing to say about that because I haven’t even thought about it. I can’t comment on every story that comes out. Andres is our player, he will train a bit later today. We want him to stay with us, play more games and score more goals which is what he does.

Valverde on Coutinho and Dembele

Good players show what they can do on the field. We are in the decisive phase of the season and of course if they can do it then we’re going to be happy. But Dembele has had two injuries, Coutinho has just joined the team. What is clear is that we want them to help us.

Valverde on Argentina asking Messi to rest

I have faith in everyone, above all in Leo, who is our player, and I know his ambition is to win everything for Barca and then for then national team We want Leo in his best form for us and for them.

Valverde on Eibar’s pitch

The clear question is we have to adapt to the stadium, the size of the pitch, their style of play. The fact is that the ground is a little bit smaller or is a bit narrow. I think we’re used to that because we’ve played on small pitches before. It’s true they take advantage of playing at home because they put you under pressure and it’s difficult to get out of. At the end of the day they try and make you play they way they want you to. We have to try and get over that.

Valverde on having a week’s rest

We needed this week off, on a mental level more than a physical one. When you have more time before games, it’s easier to manage them and prepare for them. This midweek break has come at a good time for us, having a few days off to rest mentally from the drain of fighting to get to the Copa del Rey final. I would have liked to play against Eibar on Friday, too, to have an extra day before the game against Chelsea.