Ernesto Valverde has been talking ahead of Sunday’s La Liga clash against Girona.
The Barcelona boss spoke about leaving Lionel Messi out against Sevilla and why he did not to speak to Frenkie de Jong before he signed, with the midfielder having said he spoke to Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel.
Here are the best bits:
Valverde on Girona
It’s an important and complicated game. The points in the standings are getting more and more decisive, and we have to win this duel. We know Girona have a lot of enthusiasm because they’re having a good season in Liga and the Copa del Rey. Every team has it tough at Montilivi.
Valverde on why he left Messi out against Sevilla
It was a decision based on the coach’s criteria, who is the person who knows his players best. No one else has the data I have on my players. I do what is best for the player, for the team and for the club.
Valverde on Malcom
We want him to have that continuity and to be a player that intimidates the opposition in the final third. There are other players who are playing and when he does play he has to try and win his place in the team so that it can’t be taken away from him.
Valverde on not speaking to Frenkie de Jong before he agreed Barcelona deal
You cannot talk to a player who has a contract. It’s not in my code. Everyone has their way of acting. If a player decides [to talk about it], that’s up to him.The club have acted in a matter which I respect and I have nothing to say.
Valverde on rotation
There’s a lot of talk about rotation, but mainly when you lose. Last year, we made changes against Celta and Espanyol but they only spoke of them when we lost at 1-0 at Espanyol.
The midfield against Sevilla was the same as the one against Getafe in La Liga. The defence was a strong defence. We made some changes in attack. But it is similar to what we did last year and we ended up winning the cup.
The result was bad against Sevilla, but we will try and comeback. But I have no qualms saying that La Liga is a priority for us.