Ernesto Valverde was back in the press conference hotseat on Friday, taking questions ahead of Saturday’s clash with Espanyol.
The Barcelona boss discussed Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s injury problems, his replacement Neto, Arturo Vidal and Carles Alena’s departure.
Here are the best bits:
Valverde on Dani Olmo
He is a player who has already been here. He is a good player, from another team, and I don’t talk about things that can happen. You have to be cautious about these things.
Valverde on Ter Stegen
It’s true that he’s had some tendon problems for some time now. He won’t play against Espanyol and probably won’t be ready for the Spanish Super Cup. I don’t know [if he needs surgery] the doctors haven’t discussed it. We haven’t reached that extreme just yet.
Valverde on Neto
He’s got a great attitude in terms of training every day and coming in when needed. He played at a very high level against Inter Milan. We have no doubts about him, we see him train everyday. We believe in him.
Valverde on Alena
Alena has left. I didn’t think it would be so soon but he had the opportunity to go. Like in August we managed to keep him but he had a clause in his contract. Now we have one fewer player in that position so we’ll see what happens. In theory I’m not thinking about any other player leaving. We have the likes of Riqui Puig in the B team. We are counting on the first team and the B team players.
Valverde on Vidal
With contractual matters there’s always differences in how you see contracts. This needs to be solved internally. It’s not the first time this has happened and it won’t be last. He is training normally and has the same enthusiasm as always. I don’t see any problems.
Valverde on Arthur
The fact he’s out is a setback for us, I won’t deny that. We’ll see if we can bring him back in the recovery time we’ve got for him. I would like things to be as they were last year. If we have to wait a little longer we will wait, but we need him 100%.
Valverde on Espanyol
In a derby, the standings don’t matter. For us, it’s a very important match and we have to know how to play it. They are in a difficult situation. It’s a derby and the distances in these games don’t exist; you play a lot with your heart. We want to win because of that emotional component, too.