Barcelona: Valverde dislikes new Spanish Super Cup format

The Barça coach spoke before his side met Atlético Madrid in the second semi-final of the competition, being played with a new three match format in Saudi Arabia.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde spoke to the press ahead of his side’s Spanish Super Cup semi-final against Atlético Madrid, being played on Thursday 9 January at 20:00 CET in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This year sees a new format for the Super Cup, with two teams being invited in addition to the Liga winners (Barcelona) and Copa del Rey winners (Valencia), in order to play two semi-finals and a final. Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid are the two invited teams, with Valencia playing Real Madrid on Wednesday evening.

Over the course of the season you’ll play Atlético several times. How important is this game?

It’s a different format from the one we’re used to. It’s not a two-legged game or a league game. It’s definitive, and so we’ll play it like a league game, knowing we’re looking for the win and knowing how difficult it is to play Atlético.

Do you feel comfortable here?

I know it’s been said before, but the football we’re involved with is an industry. The search for sources of income is why we’re here and just as the game in Morocco had its particular connotations, it’s the same here. It’s not the same as playing at home, but here we are. We’re good and have adapted.

Is it necessary to change the team?

We’ll see. Right now we’ve only got one game and we’re coming off the back of playing last Saturday. We’ve got five days of margin and we don’t need to think about much more because after tomorrow’s match there might be another, or not.

How’s the team?

We’ve brought more players in case of what happens tomorrow. Because if you get through you need to train. There are no easy games against Atlético and against this side in particular even less so. Everything rests on one game and anything can happen.

Have you spoken to Vidal?

We’re not thinking about him going to another team. We’ll see tomorrow. In principle he’s with us. No clues.

Would you prefer to play here or at home?

I’ll give you an objective stat. This is my fifth Super Cup. In the first three my team had to play the second leg away. And when we won the Liga I had to play away. It’s odd playing against two teams that have been invited.

Would you prefer to play the competition in the summer?

I don’t know. It’s always been the first title of the season between the champions of LaLiga and the champions of the Copa del Rey. I think it was fine as it was. It’s changed. We’ll assess it once it’s over. What’s obvious is that the games are attractive ones for the fans, but from the sporting point of view, there’s only one league champion. And only one cup winner.

United and Inter’s interest in Vidal?

Arturo Vidal plays for us and tomorrow he’ll be on the pitch or on the bench. We don’t pay any attention to other clubs being interested in our players.