Ernesto Valverde has been talking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s visit from Villarreal in La Liga.
The Barcelona boss was asked about his team’s poor form, spoke about his decision to cut Ivan Rakitic from the squad to face Villarreal and also discussed Ousmane Dembele.
Here’s a round-up of what the Barcelona boss had to say.
Valverde on Ivan Rakitic
Every week I am asked about those not called up. If Rakitic is not in the squad, it’s means someone else is. He hasn’t got an issue, it’s a question of players. We have plenty of midfield options.
Valverde on Ousmane Dembele
Dembele’s a player that can unbalance the opposition, he can give us a lot of things. He has quality and we hope that he shows us all that talent he has on the pitch.
Valverde on feeling the pressure
This is how things are in football. You are in crisis every three days and you can come out of it just as quick. That’s what we have to try and do. The only way to calm things down is to pick up six points this week.
Coaches are always under scrutiny. That’s not something new. That’s the position I’m in and have been from the start. We haven’t started well this season and now we have to make up lost ground. We have to get ourselves out of this situation just like we did when we were in a rut last year. Last season we only picked up two points from nine and we still went on to win the league. That’s what we have to try and do now.
Valverde on Antoine Griezmann
He’s played as a centre-forward and out wide on the wing and it’s true that we have been struggling in attack away from home. But that’s not because of Griezmann, Ansu or Carles Pérez. It’s something more universal. Forwards need to enter the game and be decisive.
Valverde on Villarreal
Villarreal have always been a difficult side to play, and they’ve had a good start. They have a lot of pace in attack with Samu and Ekambi and very good players in the middle like Cazorla. I don’t know whether it will be a game with a lot of goals or not. We will just be trying to continue what we have been doing at home and put behind us what happened the other day.