Ernesto Valverde has been talking ahead of Saturday’s crunch La Liga clash with second-placed Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou.
The Barcelona boss told fans to lay off Antoine Griezmann, said Ousmane Dembele wouldn’t be ready for the match and also spoke about Samuel Umtiti and Arturo Vidal.
Here are the best bits:
Valverde on Griezmann
I want the fans to pay attention to us, not the opposition and support us. I don’t like when we go to other grounds and get booed, it’s like fans give more importance to the opposition than their own side, we want the opposite.
Every player is free to decide over their future, just like the clubs can decide who they keep. Everyone is free to take their decisions and it’s just another game for us. Griezmann is a great player so we’ll take care, but nothing more than that.
Valverde on Dembele
Dembele will not be with us. We’ll see if he is for Wednesday. The Champions League game at Old Trafford won’t influence my team for Saturday.
Valverde on Arturo Vidal
It would have been great for us to have Arturo Vidal for the game against Atletico Madrid. It’s a handicap not to have him because we lose out on energy and character.
Valverde on Samuel Umtiti
Umtiti has been on the sidelines for a long time because of his injury. Now he has to integrate and adapt to the group again.
Valverde on Atletico Madrid
The three points are important for both teams. We would set up a big lead for the remaining games, and they would be able to close the gap. Atletico create deep pressure. Their players are good at finding space, and they also have great shot takers.
Valverde on Alvaro Morata
He was talked about as a target here, like many others players. But now he plays for Atletico The role he was going to have here as a second striker isn’t the same as at Atletico, so every player has to think about what he wants. It’s speculation.