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Valverde talks Ousmane Dembele fitness, Yerry Mina debut and defends Sergi Roberto

Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde has faced the press ahead of Sunday’s clash with Espanyol and has been talking about who might play in the derby.

The Barca boss said Andres Iniesta might sit this one out and also said Yerry Mina is ready to make his debut - although whether he will is another matter.

We also got a quick update on Dembele and Valverde explained the club will not take any risks whatsoever with the French international.

Here are the best bits..

Valverde on Espanyol

We’ve faced them in two Cup matches recently so I don’t expect too many surprises. Espanyol will try to duplicate what they did in the first leg. Our intention is to win because there’s a long way left and winning is tough. They have physically strong players and they’ll press us, but we’re ready.

Valverde on Dembele

He’s not ready to play now. We’ll try to be careful with Dembélé like we were when he returned from his previous injury, playing him bit by bit. He did part of the session today. We’ll see when he’s ready to return. I’m not going to take any risks

Valverde on Mina and Iniesta

It’s possible Iniesta won’t start against Espanyol. Not because it’s a tough game, but because of the amount of games he’s played.

Yerry Mina could play tomorrow or the next game. But we’re competing right now and it’s difficult. He’s ready, but the coach has to decide and so far I’ve picked Umtiti and Pique.

Valverde on Sergi Roberto

Sergi Roberto is not under suspicion, he always goes for the ball. He isn’t a dirty player, and in that particular circumstance the rival came off worse. Football people know Sergi Roberto.

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