Ernesto Valverde has undertaken his final pre-match press conference of the season ahead of Sunday’s La Liga clash with Real Sociedad.
The Barcelona boss was in pretty relaxed mood and even enjoyed a few jokes with reporters as he answered questions on a range of topics.
Here are the best bits:
Valverde on how this season went
We still have one match left. I would give it high marks, it was a tough season, a long season and there was a little bit of everything. There were some moments that were good, some not so good. We lost one match in every competition until now. We came back in the cup, the Champions League really hurt, but we’ve learned from those games. I think it’s been an excellent season, given how it started, and I think we should be happy. We achieved the double so we should be happy.
Valverde on Iniesta
We want to finish the year well against a good team. It is an important game for all blaugranas because of what Andrés Iniesta means and we want to end with a victory.
We won’t get a replica of Andrés Iniesta. We have players like Denis Suárez, Aleñá or Coutinho, who are similar but a little more attack-minded. All of us will have to make up for his absence together.
Valverde on Barca’s youngsters
I always look at the academy, it’s my obligation as Barça’s coach. The talent is always there, like Aleñá or Riqui Puig. The future depends on them.
I do not know if it will be a busy summer for us, but I do want a small squad so I can use B-players more regularly.
I would like young players to have the idea that they can play in the first team. There are players who have talent and projection and and we will keep looking at them.
Valverde on Messi
Messi has carried a load of important matches, even playing with discomfort, now we have thought to rest a little.
In South Africa he played 15 minutes for a contractual issue, but it has helped us a lot and the idea is to rest.
Valverde on transfer plans
We have to strengthen in some positions, but not reshape the whole team.
We have won the league and cup with a solid base of players who we trust, we only need small changes.