Ernesto Valverde has been talking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Barcelona’s opening game of the 2019-20 Champions League on Tuesday at Borussia Dortmund.
The Barcelona boss offered an update on Lionel Messi’s fitness, discussed 16-year-old starlet Ansu Fati, former striker Paco Alcacer and Tuesday’s opponents.
Here are the best bits:
Valverde on Messi
He has improved a lot. We’ll decide tomorrow [if he’ll play]. We weren’t sure a week ago if he’d be ready in time, but there’s been a lot of progress. In the last training session, he finished well and the fear of feeling pain is leaving his head.
Valverde on Ansu Fati
We’re thrilled with Ansu Fati, but we all have to take care of him. If he plays tomorrow, it won’t be to break records, but rather because the team needs him.
I haven’t spoken to him much, except for tactical things. I don’t like giving advice too much, but I’ll talk to him. It’s about everyone around treating him naturally.
Valverde on Paco Alcacer
He’s a great player and he showed it here and with Spain. Dortmund suit him well and he suits the team too. It’s a disadvantage for us that he’s playing, he knows our players very well indeed.
Valverde on Borussia Dortmund
I expect a great game with a spectacular atmosphere against a team that is a candidate to win the Bundesliga. It will be a good test. What I like about Dortmund the most is the connection they have with their fans. They have great players like Sancho, Reus. Alcácer is a great player and he is showing it.