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Quique Setien talks Barcelona title hopes, Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati ahead of Espanyol

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The latest from the Barcelona boss

RC Celta de Vigo v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Quique Setien faced the press on Tuesday to talk all things Barcelona ahead of the club’s clash against Espanyol at the Camp Nou.

The Barcelona boss spoke about Espanyol, the title race, Arturo Vidal’s future, Antoine Griezmann’s best position and Ansu Fati’s development.

Here are the main points:

Setien on Espanyol

The reality is that with this derby form doesn’t matter, it’s all about doing your best. It’s isolated from everything else and you just focus on winning the game. The importance this game has for the players is enormous. It’s going to be a game full of excitement, like all of them, it’s true the situations for both sides sporting-wise is not the same but there’s always uncertainty in terms of what’s going to happen. Everyone will give their all and sometimes the table doesn’t have much to do with what happens on the pitch.

Setien on Bartomeu backing

Before this game I didn’t really have the feeling that things could change. You have these moments in football and I just limit myself to doing my job. From what I’m aware, the club are happy with what we are doing and we’re also happy. That’s what I’ve been focusing on. I don’t evaluate just because we’ve won a game, like at Villarreal. I don’t value things in that way. I don’t live day by day. I try and have a bit more perspective on things.

Setien on Barca’s title hopes

Of course we can win it. Reality has shown it, the maths show it too. It’s true it isn’t easy but we have to keep faith until the final day. We shouldn’t even be thinking about what the opposition can do. It’s about us, winning very game, getting a good feeling going, showing good progress. Everything we do can also be useful for the next campaign.

Setien on Arthur not playing

We know he’’s signed with another team but he’ll be here until our games are finished. He’s still training with the team, he’s shown desire and enthusiasm. Then there are decisions I have to make which depend on a lot of things.

Setien on Arturo Vidal

I agree with [Antonio] Conte and with you that Vidal is offering us a lot of things. He generates some unchangeable commitment. He’s always willing to work hard and help his team-mates, we are lucky to have players like that on the team. Arturo has a lot of chances to continue and he has a contract right now. Maybe you have have to ask him if he wants to continue? Right now he’s part of my plans just like everyone else who has a contract.

Setien on Ansu Fati

I think Ansu is performing very well. He’s very receptive in terms of improving and extending his repertoire and skills. We are very satisfied with how he works and with his development. He’s got his whole life ahead of him as a player and it’s good that he’s taking steps forwards because that will allow him to develop. He’s handling it well.

Setien on Barca relegating Espanyol

I don’t think it’s Barcelona who will send Espanyol down, it’s a process that takes a long time. It’s true if there’s a draw or a win Espanyol will go down but in no case is it that Barca have sent them down. It’s a result of a process that has lasted all year.

Setien on resting players at risk of suspension

It’s true at the start we looked at that but I’ve not said anything specific about that. I want players to play with freedom and if we lose a player through suspension then they will just have to rest. We’ve got a couple of positions that are covered with players from the B team. There are players I’d love to have all the time but if they are suspended it’s not a problem.

Setien on Griezmann playing a central role

The other day he performed extraordinarily well but I wouldn’t just associate it with that one thing. Griezmann has quality and enough talent to show the level that he did the other day. It’s just then he had a moment of inspiration that was extraordinary, well all three players linked up well, and he was also a constant threat from balls in from the wings. Sergi Roberto did a lot of things very well in that game and always made it easier for those players inside to shine.

Setien on Frenkie de Jong

That would be the ideal situation [to play against Valladolid]. His feeling is he’s improving. He trained today even though it was with little intensity what we did today. He’s feeling better all the time and the feeling is that he comes back in and we look at his recovery to see if he’s OK to play at Valladolid.