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Ernesto Valverde talks Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Manchester United ahead of Real Betis

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The latest from the Barcelona boss

FC Barcelona v Olympique Lyonnais - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde has faced the press once again ahead of Sunday’s trip to Real Betis in La Liga.

The Barcelona boss talked about Ousmane Dembele’s latest injury, Philippe Coutinho’s fragile confidence and the upcoming Champions League tie with Manchester United.

Here are the best bits:

Valverde on Dembele

Dembele felt really good. We knew he had a small problem but he thought he would be OK to start. I thought not but, in the end, I brought him on. If things had gone differently, he would be in the squad this weekend and maybe he would get injured then.

With the way the match was going, it was the right moment to take a risk, which we did, and now he will be out for three or four weeks.

I knew the risk we were taking with him. The medical team do their work and the players do theirs but it’s me that makes the decisions and it was a big game.

Valverde on Coutinho

We spoke [before the Lyon game] to look over what he was doing well and where we could help him improve.

But the conversation will remain private. He has been playing a lot anyway and played really well against Lyon and we expect a lot from him regardless of whether Dembele’s injured or not.

Valverde on Manchester United

The tie against United is really difficult. They’re a side with a lot history, they’re in good form and it will be an even and open tie. We’re not favourites. We have to be careful because they never give up. They came back against Paris Saint-Germain. It will be an attractive tie for the public.

I don’t think the factor of playing home or away is as decisive as it was before. In the last eight there are four teams that finished second in their group, so played the second legs in the last round away.

Valverde on Real Betis

We know what type of team they are, what they make us do and also what they stop us from doing.

In the first game we played earlier in the season, we suffered a lot. It is a vital game for us, a difficult away trip against a team we know are always motivated when they play us.

I’m sure Betis will play a similar game to last time, they play with a lot of strength, they will try and take the initiative.

Valverde on Lenglet and Umtiti

Lenglet is playing very well, Samuel is getting better, both are having great seasons. Lenglet is settling in more and more at the club.

I like to have the central defence well covered and it is. As for France, it’s up to their manager to pick their team, not me.