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Ernesto Valverde talks Pique, fatigue, Arthur and Atletico Madrid ahead of Girona clash

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FC Barcelona Training Session Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde met the press again today for his pre-match press conference and seemed to be in a pretty good mood.

The Barcelona boss was pleased with his side’s display against Chelsea, talked a little bit about resting players but didn’t give too much away about tomorrow’s team.

Here are the best bits...

Valverde on Gerard Pique

He didn’t train yesterday, but it was a precaution. There are nine points to play for this week so it’s an important week for the league. There are 14 games left to play but three this week so that’s nine points that will say a lot. The best plan is to take things a game at a time, starting with tomorrow. It will be interesting because of the opponent, they are perhaps in their best form of the season. We’ve had a lot of games back to back so it might be a good idea to make changes, but any change will be made with a view to winning the game.

Valverde on Arthur

What’s his surname? I thought you were talking about an actor! He plays for another team. I’ve seen him, but we watch a lot of players.

Valverde on fatigue

We’ve had games at home against Alaves and Getafe which we found very difficult because they played very tight in defence, they stopped us playing our natural game. The cup games we played well home and away. People have all kinds of opinions about the Chelsea game but I thought we played a fantastic game. They hit the post twice and people are saying all kinds of things but the attitude of our team was extraordinary.

I’d love to go to Chelsea and win 5-0, dominate the game, take all our chances but Chelsea are a very good team too. We played in the right spirit, but people are free to have opinions.

Valverde on Sergi Roberto

He’s adapted very well to playing at the back. He’s player who can bring the ball forward. He can play wide, in the middle. He was brought up playing for Barca so he’s mastered positional play and he’s got a very important role. He has huge will, that has a lot to do with it. If you look at his history, he didn’t come straight into the team. He’s had to work his way in to reach a very high level. He’s a blessing.

Valverde on Denis Suarez

I can only play 11 players and have 18 in the squad. It’s a question of him waiting for his chance and making the most of it when it comes.

Valverde on rotation with Atletico coming up

Yes there’s three games to play. But we’re not thinking about Atletico Madrid. We want to go into that game with the same lead as we have now, at least. We need to get through these games and the best way to do this is not to think about Atletico. The points against Atletico are the same as against Girona and Las Palmas.