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GETAFE-BARCELONA

Valverde: "I'm under contract and get on well with the club"

Ernesto Valverde.

Gorka Leiza

The Barcelona coach gave some hints to his continuity, saying that he is already plotting the pre-season and hasn't ruled Real Madrid out of the title race.

Ernesto Valverde faced the media this afternoon to look ahead to Barcelona's first game of the New Year - away at Getafe tomorrow night. The coach also gave some hints about where he sees himself at the end of the season.

Getafe have only conceded four goals at home so far this season. Are you expecting to face a difficult defence at the Coliseum?

Getafe certainly are a good side and a tough rival to start the year - more than anything because they are going to really test us and we're fully aware of that. We suffered to beat them in Getafe last season and were unable to when we met them at home. They're a side who are pressing high up the pitch and doing so with great conviction. Their position in the table says it all. They're fighting to return to Europe and they're a team which is on the up. So they will be an uncomfortable rival to face. They make a huge effort to win every 50-50 ball.

BarcelonaErnesto Valverde in today's session

Getting back into the rhythm

What will be at the forefront of your mind - the game, or your team's concentration levels?

We've just had the Christmas break, but the players have returned looking well. We have to confront the game properly, we have to impose on game and not let the game slip from us. They'll be trying to get us to enter into a certain dynamic - they won't be giving us any freedom on either wing.

You recently spoke about your future on Barça TV. What limits have you set yourself regarding your decision on what you'll do next?

I'm under contract at Barça. That was a two-year contract with the option of a third and at the end of the season, I'll have to make a decision but we'll bring that forward. We're not even halfway through the season but there's a good understanding between myself and the club. The minute you lose a game, the media starts putting odds on you getting the sack. But I still am under contract here at Barça.

I'm not saying that I'm the one who has to make the decision. We have a contract which both parties have signed and we are going to respect that. I've got on well with the club from the very start.

Today's session

We need everyone in the squad - Valverde

How have you drawn up the squad?

We'll be trying to use all of the players - including the B team players who can come in and give us a hand. Malcom and Sergi Roberto are both in the list and Samu can help us out. Vermaelen too. We don't know when Samper will be able to return but we have some tough games coming up.

Would it be an idea to get Piqué to make a short 'featurette film' about your contract revision?

I'm a terrible actor, I don't think I'd be up for it. Besides, it's more simple than that.

Will Umtiti be ready to return this month?

I don't know. We're hoping that in a couple of weeks he might be able to return to full training with the squad. We'll see.

Not ruling out Real Madrid recovery

When Barça beat Madrid 5-1, you said it would be crazy to rule them out of winning the league. Do you still feel that way?

I stand by what I said at that time. As far as we're concerned, Madrid are still candidates to win the league. Sometimes the difference in points might seem big but it's not so great, just two and a half games can change everything, and I count them as one of our direct rivals. This season, there's not much between the teams in LaLiga. As long as we remain top, that's what counts.