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Ernesto Valverde talks Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati, Samuel Umtiti and Levante

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The latest from the Barcelona boss

FC Barcelona v Real Valladolid CF - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde gave his usual pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of Barcelona’s La Liga clash at Levante.

The Barcelona boss talked about Antoine Griezmann, Samuel Umtiti’s fitness, Gerard Pique’s latest comments on Neymar (these ones in case you missed them) and Lionel Messi.

Here are the main talking points.

Valverde on Griezmann

He has been playing regularly. The other day I made some changes. I don’t like to talk about indisputable starters. He will keep on playing if he continues to meet expectations.

Valverde on Levante

Levante have a deadly counter-attack with very fast players. It’ll be a complicated match like in previous years. We’re doing well in the standings, but it’s a long season and right now we need to win the games we play on the road.

Valverde on Pique’s Neymar comments

I didn’t know about it. No one proposed it to me. Neither when he left or when there was the possibility of coming back.

Valverde on Messi’s Argentina call-up

We know that while he is still active, there is a possibility that he will be called up by his national team. When he doesn’t go, it’s because of a suspension but now that’s over and it’s normal for him to be called-up. It doesn’t damage our focus at all. We accept it and it is not a setback.

Valverde on Ansu Fati

Of course I don’t regret bringing him into the first team early in the season. We had a shortage of players in attack and we needed cover. He has come in and has shown a lot of qualities. He turned 17 this week. He still needs to get used to the league and it’s a learning process. He has to learn how to manage the rhythm of the games, how to look after his body, he still needs to get stronger.

Valverde on Samuel Umtiti

He’s had fitness issues hanging over from last year, that’s why he’s not playing regularly. Hopefully we can get this sorted once and for all so he can play more regularly, but the other thing is competition for places. Lenglet is also playing very well and is a very reliable player, very professional in what he does.