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Ernesto Valverde talks Samuel Umtiti, Gerard Pique and rotation ahead of Athletic Bilbao clash

The boss has been answering questions

Real Valladolid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde faced the press on Friday ahead of Saturday’s visit from Athletic Bilbao and played down reports of a serious knee injury for Samuel Umtiti.

The Barcelona boss said he was hopeful the World Cup winner would return to action soon and did not rule out resting Gerard Pique at the weekend.

Here are the best bits...

Valverde on Umtiti

He’s got a knee problem and he couldn’t have played on Wednesday [against Spurs due to suspension].

Let’s see how things develop, but hopefully it won’t be too long before he’s back with us. It’s a blow for us.

Valverde on Pique

He seems very focused on his football. Pique’s been playing all the time, so it’s a possibility that he rests and that Lenglet and Vermaelen play together. We will see.

Valverde on rotation

We will see if we make some adjustments. That doesn’t mean that we will change the whole approach, when we look at the team we know we are a side with quality players and I don’t think the system is so important.

We need to deal with the game tomorrow knowing that it will have characteristics which are different to those we have faced up to now.

Valverde on Athletic

We’ll need to deal with the early pressure from them and then develop our game. We know how much will Athletic have, they put constant pressure on you for 90 minutes.

Berizzo doesn’t change his approach whether it’s home or away. They don’t submit to the opposition, they like to come at you.

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