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Quique Setien talks Champions League, Frenkie de Jong and Matheus Fernandes

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The Barcelona boss spoke ahead of Real Valladolid

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-PRESSER Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

Quique Setien held his usual pre-match press conference on Friday to talk all things Barcelona ahead of Saturday’s clash with Real Valladolid.

The Barca coach offered his thoughts on the Champions League draw, gave updates on Frenkie de Jong and Arthur and also talked about Sergi Roberto’s best position.

Setien on Champions League draw

I think it’s important that we focus on the game against Napoli which is the key. We know that we’re going to be playing at home now which I think is fair. As for the rest of the draw, it’s OK to know what it is, and it’s good to analyse some of the possible opponents, but the first thing we have to do is focus on, first of all, tomorrow against Real Valladolid. We need three points if we want to be up there, then the game against Napoli is vital for us. When the moment comes we’ll face that but right now we’re focused on the first challenge. We have to win and keep our options open of winning the title.

More difficult to win the UCL now?

Definitely, but I don’t focus on things like that. We try and look at our priorities and we try and be up to the task in very game. When the Champions Legue game comes around, we’ll try to do the best we can and for three games in the league we’ll do our best.

Setien on Arthur

This is just a one-off thing. It hasn’t got any more importance than that. He’s training well, right now he’s not having minutes but he could. His commitment is just the same as always, he tries to give his best in every training session. It’s a one-off thing, he’ll get over this small illness he has and I’m sure he will be back in the squad. Especially now when some of the youth players won’t be with us (because of their playoff) and we’ll need everyone.

Setien on Frenkie de Jong

I’ve been talking with him and maybe we got a little bit ahead of ourselves. He’s in fairly good condition. We wondered whether to take him to play just 15-20 minutes but we thought the best thing to do is keep him here training. He was close but we preferred not to take the risk and we’ll wait a few more days so the feeling is excellent.

Setien on possibility of playing a friendly before Napoli

It’s possible we do that. We are clear about the fact that we will have some rest, a few days off, and then we intend to play one friendly or other. It might be something like a game that we have at the Camp Nou like we did just after lockdown. It will be difficult to find a team that will be competitive right then and who can offer us what we want.

Setien on Real Valladolid

I always tell the players we are going to find the best version of the opponent, that’s the reality. Valladolid are a side who aren’t completely safe and they will try to achieve that in this game. We know we have to win, we need to be very focused and very alert. They won’t make things easy for us. It’s possible the title might go down to the final game, hopefully that’s the case, and we’ll see what happens.

Setien on Sergi Roberto’s best position

The truth is we have a player who is so versatile that he can play in any position, that we’ve spoken about, and do a job there. His willingness is absolute, he will do any task asked. Coaches are relieved when we have these sort of players. Maybe he prefers to play in the center of the midfield but he’s adapted to other positions, but in any position he’s useful to us. I like how he plays in any position.

Setien on Matheus Fernandes

I watched him yesterday in one of the youth team games. He’s a good player. We will be making decisions about him. There are a lot of things to analyse at the end of the season which is when we’ll make concerete decisions. Nothing’s clear at the moment.