Ernesto Valverde has met the press ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Roma in the Champions League at the Camp Nou.
Unsurprisingly the future of Samuel Umtiti was up for discussion along with Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi. Valverde was optimistic on Busquets’ fitness and said Messi was fine to play.
Here are the best bits:
Valverde on Umtiti
“My understanding is Umtiti is happy here and we are happy with him, I hope he will continue for many years because he is very important both on and off the field.”
Valverde on Busquets & Messi fitness
“Yesterday [Busquets] trained and played an important part. We think that today he will be fine and that tomorrow he will be even better.
”He is important for us and the national team. We hope to have him back. We are talking about players with such specific and strong characteristics that when they aren’t playing, you miss them. Messi and Busquets are fundamental.”
Valverde on Iniesta
“I don’t have any kind of strategy to persuade him [to stay]. He’s been here for many years and knows how loved he is, he’ll make the decision that he thinks is best, and we’ll respect it.”
Valverde on Roma
“It seems that this game has already been won by our name, but it isn’t like that. Roma have a good positional game, they try to carry the weight of the game, their strategy is strong and they develop pressure well. Also, they are very offensive, so we will have to defend well.
”Watching their group games, it wasn’t a surprise that Roma were top, nor is it a surprise that they are in the quarter-finals. They play to attack and defend with solidarity.
”We will have difficulty progressing. It is an attractive knockout tie. We face it with enthusiasm and a 50 per cent chance of winning, just like them.”