Ernesto Valverde was back in the hotseat on Saturday as he faced the press ahead of Barcelona’s La Liga clash with Huesca at the Camp Nou.
The Barca boss spoke about a range of topics including Rafinha, Jordi Alba’s Spain snub and Ousmane Dembele’s playing time.
Here are the best bits...
Valverde on Huesca
I don’t think they’ll be coming here with any fear. They will play tight and defensively but they know they have a chance and can cause a surprise. These games can be difficult, we’ve have problems against newly promoted teams in the past.
Valverde on Rafinha
It’s not easy to work with players who want to play more. That’s not just Rafinha, it’s all players they all want to play as much as possible. We have spoken this week but they are private conversations, different ideas about what could happen. Ultimately he’s staying and I think that’s good news for us. He’s a player who can do a lot for us. Let’s see how he progresses, a lot depends on what I can see from him in training and playing games. He’s a player who has a lot to offer that’s why we want him here.
Valverde on Alba’s Spain snub
That’s not a question for me. It’s Luis Enrique who picks the squad, he calls the players he thinks are best for certain games. Alba is not in the team now, but whether he will be there in the future we’ll have to wait and see. I’m sure he’ll work hard to earn a place.
Valverde on using new signings
We know after the international break we have an intense schedule with midweek games in the cup and the Champions League and La Liga as well. We’ll need to call on all our players. Really there haven’t been that many changes because they are the first few games of the season. and we don’t want to make too many changes.
Valverde on Dembele
Every player needs regular football. He’s doing very well this season. We’ve always said he has incredible talent and we are expecting a lot from him. He’s working very hard, let’s hope he gets to play regularly, that depends on a lot of different things. We are happy with his performances this season so far
Valverde on the Champions League
We need to be ready from the start. Every game is key. It’s a short competition, any team can beat you. It’s going to be a competitive group and we can’t afford any slip ups. We need to make sure we win our games. There’s no easy games there that maybe we can relax a little. I think it’s good for us. we tend to play best when the demands are stronger.