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Ernesto Valverde talks Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele ahead of Espanyol

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The latest from the Barcelona boss

Real Betis Balompie v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde was back before the press on Friday talking about all things Barcelona ahead of Saturday’s La Liga clash with Espanyol.

Much of the talk revolved around injuries, in particular Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.

Here are the best bits:

Valverde on Messi

We think [he’s 100 per cent]. Leo has had these niggles for a while and we are taking care of that. Before Christmas he had these problems and we have been working with him to resolve them.

The process with the national team is the same. Now he is back and he feels better for the coming games. Leo was spectacular before the international break, then he went away and got injured, it’s just a circumstance.

We’re managing this in a natural way. I was talking to him before as he had a little problem in training but we’re all connected, the physios and the players to find out how players are.

Valverde on Luis Suarez

He’s good, we’re taking precautions with him as there is a risk of a little scare. He could suffer another knock, but the break has been good for him.

Valverde on Ousmane Dembele

I don’t know if he will be back next week, we will try to be careful with his injury.

Valverde on Espanyol

We’re aware that it’s a derby, which is very motivating for us and for them. After this break is the decisive part of the season and we have three games this week.

We know what we’re up against. Each match has a lot of importance and there’s less time to recover.

Valverde on Pique’s Espanyol comments

I haven’t seen it, but it’s inevitable to hear about it. There isn’t a lot to comment about, he was on a comedy show, about humour, so it was a bit more light-hearted and that’s okay.