Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde faced the press on Saturday ahead of his team’s clash against Atletico Madrid.
Valverde talked about Ousmane Dembele’s injury, Antoine Griezmann’s return to Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal’s comments he could potentially look to leave Barcelona in January.
Here are the best bits:
Valverde on Atletico
Atletico away is big test for anyone, one of the most important games of the season. We have to play well, we have to play good football to win. We’ve spoken about our away form, we’re not having our best season as far as results in the league are concerned. Whichever team wins tomorrow will have a big boost for their morale. Looking at our fixtures before Christmas we have tough games so this is a game we really have to win.
Valverde on Dembele
I spoke to him and obviously he’s down because of the injury. It’s a different leg than the last injury but it’s a similar type of thing. An important player for us to lose, there’s no doubt about that and he’s going to be out for a while. If we have to we’ll use the B team players, they’ve done well when called upon. Dembele has been playing well, morale was high so it’s an unfortunate setback for him.
He came here two years ago he was obviously very young but with great potential. He’s learnt the way things work at this club. He’s certainly learnt a few things. I won’t deny we’ve spoken about him a lot in these press conferences. But he’s settled and this is an unfortunate setback.
I’m not a specialist in muscle fibre. I say that everything comes from his first injury. He had a major operation then. I do not have a concrete idea [of why it happened], but he is a fast, explosive player.
Valverde on Griezmann
He gave everything to Atletico and had some great seasons there. Then he was transferred here, some people weren’t that happy. It’s not something that should affect us. Players are used to playing in difficult atmospheres.
Valverde on Vidal’s comments
I don’t think he’s trying to put pressure on the club. There’s a long time until the winter window, we have important games before them. Going to market is something we’ll have to think about. He’s settled very well since he arrived, he has a lot of character, we’re very happy with him. When he came here he knew he was coming to a team that had just won the double.
Valverde on Rakitic
He brings balance, he brings the midfield together, joins the attack and defence. He hasn’t played that much because there are other players. He’s certainly a possibility. He played a very good game the other day.