Ernesto Valverde has spoken to the press ahead of Sunday’s huge La Liga clash with Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou.
The Barca boss says he’s already decided his team for the game, but wouldn’t reveal what it was, and also spoke about Atletico, Antoine Griezmann and Yerry Mina.
Here are the best bits...
Valverde on Atletico Madrid
It’s not a final but it’s an important game three points to the winners, but not decisive.
Atlético Madrid always try to surprise, they defend very well but often they will put pressure on high up the pitch at the beginning of a match.
The game against Atlético is an attractive one. Both teams are strong and the three points are worth so much. We must give everything on the pitch to win this game.
Valverde on title race
Our advantage is down to just five points after dropping two the other day, so now the points are worth even more and the prize is a juicy one. If we win, we go eight points clear and that’s the intention. Winning would be an important step forward.
But there’s still a long way to go to decide the league, so I don’t consider it a final. But we will prepare for it as if it’s our last game, as if it’s a final. That’s the only way to prepare for games against Atletico.
Valverde on Antoine Griezmann
I’d rather he saved his goals for another time. As for his future, I can’t tell you but he’s a player who’s in excellent form at the moment.
Tomorrow he’s one of the strengths of the Atletico Madrid team. We’re going to have to look after him very closely.
But I’m not going to talk about a player who plays for another team, especially one we are playing the next day.
Valverde on Yerry Mina
I have four centre-backs and I usually take three. Piqué and Umtiti are playing the most and when he has played Vermaelen has done well and Yerry joined us later.
Valverde on Las Palmas’ penalty
I have seen the images and I have not yet deciphered what he whistled for.
It’s true that after matches like the other day there is rage, but that’s good, you can take advantage of that anger to do something positive.
Valverde on VAR in La Liga next season
I think it’s a logical decision. In some cases there will still be controversy but I think the benefits outweigh the negatives.