Ernesto Valverde has faced the press ahead of tomorrow’s La Liga clash at Las Palmas and was asked a range of questions.
Unsurprisingly a few of those were directed at whether he would rest Luis Suarez, who is a yellow card away from a ban, but he would not reveal if the striker would play or not.
Here’s a look at the best bits.
Valverde on possibility of resting Messi or Suarez
We’ll see tomorrow but regardless we are coming off a game on Saturday, we’ve had plenty of time to rest for this game and I’ll say it again I don’t want to worry about the games coming up. I want to focus on this one, the three points are important to keep the margin from those who are behind us.
Valverde on Gerard Pique
He’s fine, he trained normally yesterday. If he’s playing it’s because he’s fit. I had to take him off against Girona, that was nothing to do with his injury. He took a strong knock knee to knee but that doesn’t have anything to do with the injury he had against Espanyol. If he’s fit, he’s ready to play, there’s nothing strange going on there.
Valvede on Ousmane Dembele
He’s training well, like the others, but it’s all about what happens in competition. The player may or may not play regularly depending on how they compete. Playing is not the same as training. It’s a very demanding club and there’s lots of competition. He played the whole game the other day. He needs to get used to being a decisive player. He’s taking steps forward and is progressing, and little by little he’s getting better.
Valverde on whether Barca are in a hurry to win the league
We haven’t won anything yet, we want to keep winning and that’s it. You can win a title any way, you can win it later or sooner, but we know there’s a long way to go and we know Atletico is a tough team. They are playing a very good season and we’ll see what happens. We have three points coming up and we’ll see what happens on Sunday.
It is clear Atletico will fight to the end. I have no doubt that he [Diego Simeone] does not think the league is over, of course not.
Valverde on Las Palmas
They won’t run and hide. They will pressure us, they always do. They will come out and play and try not to get worn down. Maybe we’ve overcome that before, but it doesn’t mean we will do that tomorrow. They are a good team and have improved defensively recently.
Valverde on Ter Stegen
It’s a fundamental position for us. But I also want to talk about Cillessen because he’s a player who is playing well also. They both are, they are at a very high level and are the best in the world in my opinion. Because of the way we play, our system, the way we take the initiative, I think he’s a player that we really need.
Valverde on Las Masia players
Alena has trained with us a few times. Oriol Busquets looks like he has a problem and won’t be able to play. But we’re always asking Barca B players to help out when we’re training. We are looking pretty good from a health standpoint, apart from Semedo, but we count on Barca B to help us out all the time
Valverde on if Vidal will come in for Semedo
That’s one of the things we are looking at with Aleix, we’ll see how things go. He played there in pre-season and after pre-season he hasn’t done it again, we moved him up the field a little bit to get more involved in the play.