Barcelona: "No one has said anything to me about security in El Clásico"
The Barcelona coach was keen to ease any tension ahead of next week's game: "We'll be going out there without fuss and trying to play. We don't want any distractions".
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde faced the media this evening to talkabout tomorrow's trip to San Sebastián to face Real Sociedad. Inevitably, some of the chat was about next week's Clásico.
Do have the feeling that for Barça, this is one of the toughest games of the season?
It has always been one of our toughest away games. We've won there during the past two seasons but before that, we had lost a few times and besides, La Real are fourth in the table - they are among the top teams in LaLiga and have good players who are getting even better. The last time we met, they put us under a lot of pressure at Camp Nou and it became very difficult for us to find a way of easing that pressure. We're in for a tough game tomorrow.
Are Semedo and Jordi Alba ready to return?
They've been training since the last league game. They weren't given the all-clear for Tuesday's game but we are hoping they'll be cleared today - if they are, they could enter the list. They've been training well.
Valverde fends off El Clásico questions
More details about next week's Clásico are emerging. Will the team stay at the Reina Sofía hotel are convene at Camp Nou?
We'll see. We'll be dealing with that from Sunday. Right now, we are only thinking about tomorrow's game. I know that El Clásico makes the headlines and involves a lot of news and information but we don't want to be distracted because the three points in play tomorrow against Real Sociedad are the same as the three points we need to get against Madrid. I know that it's an unusual situation because the game was rescheduled but we'll talk more about it when the time comes.
Pedro says he wants to come back to Barça. Would he fit in?
Pedro is one of Barça's historic players, we cannot deny that. He's one of the players to have won the most trophies at the club. We'll see how it all unfolds. He's well thought of by the fans.
If, for security reasons, the squad has to stay at the same hotel as Real Madrid, or at Camp Nou. Would you have a problem with that?
If it was a question of security as you say, then I'd have to think about it. But no one has mentioned anything to me about security. Let's take one thing at a time.
Rakitic's situation at Barcelona
Looking at how Rakitic has been playing, do you think he wants to stay?
I see him the same as everyone else. We are playing for a lot of things and I also know that when we are in the summer transfer window and I have a clear idea of what will happen, I'll be asked about the winter transfer window. Ivan is back playing and participating on a more regular basis and if that's the case, it's because he's earned it.
Tell us about what dangers you are expecting against La Real?
They will have their plan organised. They'll press us high up the pitch, try to win back possession at the back and then have Merino and Odegaard who combine really well. As a unit they are a good team but from midfield to attack they are exceptionally good.