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Ernesto Valverde talks Ivan Rakitic, Samuel Umtiti and Jean-Clair Todibo ahead of Real Valladolid

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More from the Barcelona boss

Athletic Club v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde has been talking to the press ahead of Saturday’s La Liga clash with Real Valladolid at the Camp Nou.

The Barcelona boss discussed his new contract, Ivan Rakitic’s future, Samuel Umtiti’s fitness and also seemed pretty impressed by new-boy Jean-Clair Todibo.

Here are the best bits:

Valverde on Real Valladolid

We’ve got a run of important games now in all three competitions. Remember we drew our last two league games and we want to get back to winning ways. So it would be nice to win, play well and put a smile on our faces. We need a win in the league, we’re coming to the decisive part of the season and we want to do well.

Valverde on new contract

I’ve always said that I have a good relationship with the club, so it all came about very naturally. The club made a proposal to me some time ago, I had some time to chew things over, to analyse how the team is progressing. We thought this seemed like a good time to make an announcement. We’re all on the same wavelength so it was an easy decision for me.

Valverde on Rakitic future

The club will do what it feels convenient to have one of the best squads in the world. Rakitic is a very important part of the team, but so are the other players, especially the ones playing regularly. So we’ll see, but I’m sure the club will do what it has to do.

Valverde on Umtiti fitness

The Lyon game is after tomorrow’s game so we have some margins to decide and to see what he can do. He’s not played for a long time, and he’s a very important member of the squad. We need him for future games. I don’t know whether he’ll play tomorrow or the next game, but we’ll be analysing his perfomances. Let’s see how he gets on.

Valverde on Todibo

He’s training with us at the moment but we’ve not seen him playing competitively, not even a friendly, because the fixtures don’t allow it. I’d like to see him because he’s got good qualities, he has a strong physique, he’s young, got a good foot. He’s looking very impressive in training, but training and competitive matches are different and that’s when you really get to see what a player is really like.

Valverde on Frenkie de Jong

He’s a commited player, never surrenders the ball, takes on opponents well, takes on important responsibilities considering how young he is. I think he’ll fit in very well at the club.