Ernesto Valverde has held his usual pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s La Liga clash against Valencia at the Camp Nou,
The Barcelona boss spoke about Lionel Messi’s recent interview, Barca’s busy schedule, Luis Suarez’s fitness and, of course, Valencia.
Here are the best bits:
Valverde on Valencia
They are a team that have given us problems. This match will be similar to last season’s matches, in spite of their having made a coaching change. They are resolute, a Champions League team, and we are looking forward to a great game.
Valverde on Messi’s interview
I know what Leo has to say. He expresses himself naturally and then people tend to misinterpret what was said. It seems like everything he ever says people try to squeeze out some kind of submeaning. I don’t think we need to read any more into it.
Valverde on Messi’s injury
It looked like it was just going to be a small period he would be out for at first. Apparently his scar opened a little bit so it’s told us we need to exercise a little bit of caution. I don’t think it’s long until he’ll be back again. Tuesday I don’t know, probably later.
Valverde on Rakitic
I don’t think he’s affected [by lack of starts]. There’s no reason he should feel that way. We have a lot of players here, if Rakitic doesn’t play it’s the same if Arthur or Vidal or Alena or Sergi or Busquets - whoever I don’t play it’s going to be a story
There are going to be lots of questions this season not just about Rakitic but about all midfielders, because evidently they can’t all play and there’s stiff competition for places.
Valverde on Suarez
He trained yesterday, today as well, I hope he’ll be fit and there’s a good chance he could be back in the squad.
Valverde on missing Messi
Messi is a very, very important player for us I can’t deny that. But there have been other times when he hasn’t played and we’ve got through games well. He had the arm problem last year and the team responded very well. Of course he’s a decisive player, he can change games because of what he does not just to our players but to the opposition as well. He’s the best player in the world, we want him back as soon as possible, but we want him back at full fitness, not coming back and then having a setback