Ernesto Valverde has held his usual pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Celta Vigo in La Liga.
The Barcelona boss paid tribute to the retiring Xavi, and spoke about a few players including Jasper Cillessen, Malcom and Carles Alena.
Here are the best bits:
Valverde on Xavi
Xavi is one of the best players in the history of football. One of the best midfielders of recent years, it was amazing to watch him play. I think that everyone expects Xavi to be a coach and he has the profile to be at Barcelona or wherever he is.
Valverde on Celta Vigo
We’re treating this game the same as any other, we are going to try to get the three points. We’ve put in lots of effort in the last three weeks and we’re going to make changes because they are necessary. There will be changes and the team will be motivated, that I can guarantee. We lost here last year. We made changes in the league and cup, I remember.
Valverde on Liverpool
We both have games this weekend. They’re playing for a league title, we’ve won ours already. When we played at Camp Nou they had had a day extra rest. I don’t think these factors are that important, maybe a slight advantage but it’s no big thing. We have a good result for the second leg but the tie is not over, not at all. We know how Liverpool play and what they’re capable of, we’ve seen that many times.
Valverde on Cillessen
I could use him for the last few games in La Liga. Each time there’s been a chance during the season, he’s played. We’re happy with him, he’s a great goalkeeper and the goalkeeper position is very special. Marc’s performances have been at such a high level. He’s had an extraordinary season. He gives us a calmness from the back and allows us to settle on the pitch. When we open up, he lets nothing get past him.
Valverde on Alena
I see him well. Last year he showed a lot of things, I see him well, he’s prepared, he takes important steps, even though there’s lots of competition. We see him progressing and we have high hopes for him.
Valverde on Malcom
He’s has done better, as much playing as training. He hasn’t had as many opportunities as others but it’s difficult to play here. He’s adapted well, and he’s been great when he has played. Let’s hope it continues like this.