Barcelona take on Malaga on Saturday in La Liga and ahead of the clash Ernesto Valverde has been talking to the press.
Valverde said Andres Iniesta would not play tomorrow, but has not yet ruled him out of the game against Chelsea, and also spoke about Ousmane Dembele, Gerard Pique and Neymar.
Here are the best bits...
Valverde on Malaga
We played against Las Palmas who are in relegation trouble and we couldn’t win that game. We also know that Malaga won against Barcelona last year and we don’t want them to do that again. They are playing at two hundred percent, there will be a good atmosphere and Malaga will make things complicated for us.
Valverde on Chelsea
All games are important. I think it would be an error to think the Chelsea game is more impotant for us. The most important game is always the next game. As we have found against Las Palmas, we didn’t win that game, we went into our next fixture under greater pressure which made the Atletico game even more important. So our objective is to exclusively focus on tomorrow’s game.
Valverde on Iniesta
He is training separately at the moment, obviously we don’t want to rush things. It’s too early to say if he’ll be available for next week. We have players with a similar profile, Denis got injured the other day, but we have Coutinho who can play inside or out, Andre Gomes as well whose characteristics are comparable, he can play in that position, but we’ll see.
Valverde on Dembele
Of course he needs to play, we need to see if he’s going to be in the team tomorrow. We have high expectations of him as a player.
Dembele is a player who likes to take people on, he’s a dribbler, he likes to break into space, he has skill with both feet, there’s a lot of virtues. Yes, maybe at certain times he needs to sharpen his technique, but he’s 20 years old and these are things that you fine tune over time. We’re fairly confident that with experience and time he will perfect those areas that come with experience really, that’s our expectation.
Valverde on Arthur
Would he fit in? He plays for a different team, we have a policy not to talk about players at other teams. To speak out of place would be taken out of context. He is a good player but he doesn’t play for us, I’d rather speak about my own players.
Valverde on Pique
If he couldn’t train that would be bad symptom but he’s completed training sessions. It’s a question of talking to him, asking how he’s doing. Fortunately it’s more of a light injury, bothersome maybe. It’s more of a knock that he’s taken really.
Valverde on possible Neymar return
I dont know where that’s come from or where that’s going to end. Let’s not talk about assumptions.
Valverde on struggling to break teams down
When a team plays defensively and they are very good in defence it’s not that we find it hard to create danger, any tream would. So I don’t think it’s a problem particularly for us. I think we are one of the best attacking teams in the world, we’ve got some of the best players in the world at that kind of football and they’ve been doing it for some time.
Valverde on how teams play against Barcelona
It doesn’t matter if teams sit back and just defend, as happened to us in London, teams also press us high at the moment. Teams wouldn’t do that before, they would just sit tight and not come forward and take us head on.
They would have all their players playing tight in defence, just perhaps leaving one player up front to try and catch something on the counter. But they don’t let you do that now because they tend to push the pressure up. I have the feeling that teams are going to continue to use high pressure.