Ernesto Valverde spoke ahead of Bareclona's LaLiga match against Alavés, to be played on Sunday at 20:45 at the Camp Nou, and was predictably asked about the situation with Espanyol. Barcelona's city rivals have filed a complaint over comments by Piqué, in which he said Espanyol were merely Espanyol de Cornellà (a suburb of Barcelona), not Espanyol de Barcelona. Espanyol also demanded action over comments by Busquets and insults from the Barcelona fans.
Valverde on Espanyol Piqué complaint
Valverde was asked how he saw the situation, having been at Espanyol himself. The coach said in reply: "My view of what Piqué said and the complaint from Espanyol is that it's happened in the context of the rivalry of a derby. They were two very intense games. I put it all in that context. To some the complaint from Espanyol will seem excessive, others will think Piqué shouldn't have said what he did. I put it in the context of the derby. We recognise what Espanyol did, because they were a great rival and made it so difficult for us. They are one of our rivals and they are Espanyol de Barcelona. Every club is free to demonstrate their annoyance and I'm not going to make the whole thing bigger than it is.
Valverde's other main points in his press conference:
- The upcoming derby against Espanyol will be tense, but nothing more. Barcelona are focused on the game against Alavés tomorrow.
- Coutinho could start against Alavés
- Yerry Mina could start against Alavés
- Asked if Coutinho is Iniesta's replacement, Valverde said the two players are different and can complement each other. They can play together and equally one can play in the position of the other, but Valverde wants to see how it goes.
- There could be more transfer movement but he doesn't know.
- Asked if Neymar could go to Madrid, Valverde said it could happen, because "if there's one place where crazy things can happen, it's football". But he's focused on what's happening at Barcelona, not anything else.