Thursday, September 21, 2017

Valverde baffled by Barca critics

SoccerNews in La Liga 8 Sep 2017

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Ernesto Valverde accused the critics of Barcelona’s business in the last transfer window of making something out of nothing.

Barca welcome city rivals Espanyol to Camp Nou on Saturday in their first game since the international break, with the fallout from Neymar’s departure to Paris Saint-Germain still rumbling on.

The Catalan club did manage to bring in Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund and Nelson Semedo from Benfica, but the signing of Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao was not warmly received.

With president Josep Maria Bartomeu also facing a vote of no confidence, there is significant negativity surrounding Barca, but Valverde was keen to put a different spin on things.

“We’ve just won our first two league games, we’ve got six points. I think everything is quite good,” he said.

“Sometimes there’s too much noise about what’s happening, but this is Barcelona – it is a big club. 

“Sometimes people make more of things than they have to. We need to try to close the team away from all that noise outside.

“We want solidarity both in attack and in defence, we need to work hard to get fans to enjoy what they’re seeing and most of all to get results.

“I know the names of possible signings get fans excited, but it’s a very fleeting kind of excitement.”

Valverde did not disclose whether Dembele would be handed a debut and was similarly non-committal over the potential inclusion of Luis Suarez, who is yet to play in LaLiga this season but turned out twice for Uruguay during the international break following a knee injury.

On the former Liverpool striker, Valverde said: “I’ve not had a chance to speak to him. I’m sure he’s fine because he’s played two games for his country.

“The last game against Alaves I was thinking about putting him in the squad. I decided to rest him for another week. Let’s see. He had two intense games for Uruguay. We’ve got another game coming up. We need to think about it.”

Barca’s focus will quickly turn to the beginning of their Champions League campaign and the visit of last season’s beaten finalists Juventus on Tuesday.

Valverde conceded that resting players in preparation for that match was a possibility, but he insisted his side would be taking Espanyol “very seriously”.

Espanyol’s last three top-flight trips to Camp Nou have seen them let in 14 goals.

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