Friday, March 22, 2019

Valverde dismisses Solari complaints over fixture scheduling

SoccerNews in La Liga 23 Feb 2019

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Ernesto Valverde told Santiago Solari to stop complaining about the fixture schedule after the Real Madrid coach questioned why Barcelona will have an extra day to prepare for Wednesday’s Clasico.

The two LaLiga giants meet in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final in midweek, with the tie level at 1-1 after the first game at Camp Nou.

Yet that contest will come just three days on from Madrid’s visit to Levante, while Barca have a four-day gap following their 4-2 victory at Sevilla on Saturday.

Solari called the decision to give one club more rest than the other “curious” at his pre-match media conference, but Valverde says it is something every team has to deal with.

“Look, anyone can complain about the calendar,” he said after Barca’s win at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. “Sevilla played on Wednesday and today [Saturday].

“It depends on the club that’s talking about it [the schedule], it can become more of an issue, but this happens to us all.

“If it happens, it happens.”

Central defender Gerard Pique also had little sympathy for Madrid, suggesting the shorter gap may actually benefit Los Blancos.

He said: “The last time they had an extra day’s rest we beat them 5-1!”

Wednesday’s clash is the first of two games in four days between the fierce rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Pique expects both matches to be tough for Barca.

“We’re desperate to reach the cup final, so first of all we’ve got to focus on that,” he said.

“After that our aim will be to send out a statement at the top of the table.”

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