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Valverde talks Messi, Gomes, Paulinho and Dembele ahead of Chelsea clash

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FC Barcelona Training Session Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Ernesto Valvede and Barcelona are in London ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League clash with Chelsea.

The Barca boss has faced the press ahead of the game and talked about a range of topics. Here are the best bits..

Valverde on Barca’s rivalry with Chelsea

Of course, previous games do count. You have to look at them, though they have little to do with what will happen tomorrow in reality.

The key players change from time to time – Messi and Iniesta are still there, obviously.

There’s a bit of rivalry between the teams, which is a good thing. It makes it more of a spectacle, more interesting.

Valverde on playing Chelsea

We wish Chelsea had finished first in their group so we didn’t have to play them. They’re the Premier League champions, a very strong team there on merit.

They are a physical team that defends well and can cause problems on the counter-attack.

They’ve got players who can decide games up front. Giroud, Pedro, Morata obviously they’ve got a tough block of players who play in a certain way.

Valverde on Lionel Messi

I am not sure if past facts count for anything but I know that it is an important tie for everyone, for Messi, for me and everyone at Barcelona.

It will be difficult for the rival we face but it is an important game as we want to continue going. Possibly Leo has not had luck against Chelsea but that is all in the past.

Valverde on Antonio Conte

He’s one of the best managers in the world with a great record. You can see the quality of his coaching in the teams he coaches. He’s got the classic Italian methods: very strong defensively and can counter at any moment. It’s very clearly a team run by him.

Valverde on lack of goals away from home

Just because it has been like this so far it doesn’t mean it will be the same tomorrow. We are looking to change this run and we will try to score while at the same time aware of how strong the rival is.

Valverde on Paulinho, Andres Gomes & Ousmane Dembele

Dembélé? He is ready for tomorrow, like the others.

Paulinho and Andre are quite different. Andre is a player that can play in various positions. We have played him wider

Paulinho, meanwile, plays more central, gets into the box. Both work hard and are good options ... but I won’t give any clues about my team.