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BARCELONA

Víctor Valdés pulls Barcelona Under-19s out of Everton game over health concerns

Barça's U19s were due to play Everton in the play-off for 3rd place in the Otten Cup this afternoon but the coach felt his players didn't have enough time to recover.

Víctor Valdés pulls Barcelona Under-19s out of Everton game over health concerns
Dean Mouhtaropoulos Getty Images

Víctor Valdés decided to take his Barcelona Under-19s team out of this afternoon's meeting with Everton in the Otten Cup over concerns for the health of his players. Valdés explaied that due to the intensity of the tournament, he was unable to field a team in conditions to compete without putting the players' health at risk. His Barça side had two games on Saturday then the semi-final against Inter Milan this morning and the coach was worried that his players didn't have enough time to recover.

Everton take bronze

Barcelona were due to meet Everton in the play-off for third place at 13:10 hours - less than three hours after losing 2-1 to Inter in the semis. Everton lost their semi-final 2-0 to hosts PSV Eindhoven this morning and claim third place by default.

I will always protect my players - Valdés

Valdés explained in a statement: "As the person in charge of my players, I have made the personal decision to not play the game to decide third and fourth place in the Otten Cup tournament this morning. My decision is based solely on safeguarding the health of my young players as we were not satisfied with the organization regarding rest periods between games.

"Today, after being eliminated in the semi-finals, we had no time to recover - just one hour between each match. Players of that age are not used to such exertion, especially at this point of the pre-season. I would like to add that before risking injury to members of my squad - or something more serious such as cardiac problems, which could have occurred had I not taken this decision; I assume all responsibility and blame my decsion might incur. I will always protect my players, regardless of the consequences".