Ernesto Valverde has faced his usual pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Real Sociedad.
The Barcelona boss acknowledged it’s always been a tough game for the club even though they did manage to win on their last visit.
He also spoke on a range of other topics, here are the best bits.
Valverde on rotation
We have to have more than 11 players for these matches. We have three days between the two matches but we have just come back from an international break. Then next week is a little difficult because we have three in six days and then we play Tottenham. We will have to rotate players to avoid injuries and stay fresh.
Valverde on Messi
We always expect the best from Messi, as we do from any player, whether there’s a midweek game or not. We knew when players had to travel for their national teams and there are away games immediately afterwards, of course it’s a huge advantage to have him rested for the last week.
Valvede on Alena
It’s possible that on Sunday he’s with the B team, but the intention from the start has been for him to help the B team in these first few games after his injury.
Once these few games are out the way, he’s a first team player in every sense. If he’s not with us for a game, he won’t be with the B team.
Valverde on Arthur and Arturo Vidal
I’ve got to find room for them all and hopefully when they play we’ll win our games. We have a lot of competition.
Vidal had to do a lot of travelling this week but we have a lot of hopes pinned on them. Perhaps this isn’t the best week for them because they’ve had some long trips.
Valverde on Ousmane Dembele
He’s the same player. He’s great going forward, great at finding space, he scores goals. We also want consistency.
He’s working very hard in training but essentially he is the same player. There will be big games when we need him to rise to the occasion, but that’s his job.