Barcelona's coach faced the media after training on Friday to look ahead to preview Saturday's meeting with Athletic Club at Camp Nou.
Barça coach Ernesto Valverde faced reports after the team had completed training on Friday to look ahead to tomorrow's visit from Athletic Club. Valverde happily answered every question that was put to him and says he is hoping for an open, entertaining game at Camp Nou.
Saturday's game: “We're anticipating an intense, complicated match. Holding off the first line of pressing is vital. Athletic are a side who are constantly pushing to make you feel uncomfortable and we know the difficulties of taking on teams that do that. They're a side with a lot of personality, whether they are home or away. Knowing how Berizzo's teams play, they'll be taking the game to us and won't be sitting back. They will play a very open game”.
Umtiti: “He has pains to his knee and we'll have to wait and see whether he can make a quick recovery. He's suffering twinges”.
Altering the system
Switching to 4-4-2: “We'll see, but varying the system isn't so significant. We know how to organize ourselves as a team. Our idea is to resolve tomorrow's match, knowing that it will be different to other ones we have to play”.
Protests from the players: “I haven't noticed that. I don't see them protesting more than they normally do”.
Reflecting on Wednesday defeat at Butarque: “You think about what might have happened, how you let the goals in, why we didn't react and repond by attacking well… We didn't react well after conceding then they put every man behind the ball. To defend well, you need to attack well.
“Letting two goals in in two minutes was an accident. I know that we have a lot of improving to do - even when we win our games, we can improve as a team. When a player makes an obvious mistake, it might seem that the result hinges on that error; but I was more worried by the first goal than the second one because you cannot avoid mistakes in football - they always happen, it's inevitable”.
Points dropped midweek
Pressure on: “We all need to be building up points. Whenever you lose a game, there is always a little aftershock which follows”.
Certain players in the firing line: “People are free to think what they like. What I try to do is put together a team which can win. We all get things wrong, but our intention is to do the best we possibly can”.
No contract extension on the horizon
Contract renewal: “Of course I feel I'm backed by the club”.
Unai: “It was unexpected for how Kepa left. Unai has a great future ahead of him - he has margin to become an even better goalkeeper and that's good news for Athletic”.
New club crest: “I like it - there have only been small changes but it's good”.