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Ernesto Valverde talks Malcom, Ousmane Dembele and replacing Lionel Messi

The boss has been looking ahead to the Inter Milan clash

FC Barcelona Training Session and Press Conference Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde spoke to the press on Tuesday ahead of Barcelona’s clash with Inter Milan in the Champions League at the Camp Nou.

The Barcelona boss was of course asked about how he plans to replace the injured Lionel Messi, but he also spoke about Malcom’s lack of game time and Ousmane Dembele.

Here are the best bits:

Valverde on replacing Messi

We have to find a way to play without him. We will certainly miss him, but we hope we miss him while winning.

You guys aren’t the only ones trying to find out how we will try to replace Leo. The coaches from the other teams are as well and I’m not going to give away what we are going to do.

We can’t have all the weight of Leo Messi on one player, we must do it all together. Messi is one of a kind but I think we have the players to step up and fill the vacuum.

He’s the best player, what do you want me to say? We depend on him, like we depend on others, but he is the best.

The doctors say about three weeks and sometimes people talk about getting back sooner. I’d love to say it will be magic and next week he’ll be back but I don’t think that is the case.

Valverde on Malcom

It’s true he’s not played much, but he has to be ready to play at any moment. It could be tomorrow, it could be in the future.

No [there’s not reason why he’s not playing], just that other players are playing in his position. Nothing else to it.

Valverde on Ousmane Dembele

Like all the other players, he needs to be ready when we want him.

[Advice for Dembélé?] Simply, work hard every day in training and in matches. I think Dembele loses the ball as other players like Rakitic, Suarez and Coutinho.

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