Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde is yet to be convinced by the changes made to the Supercopa de Espana, conceding he prefers the previous format.
The Supercopa de Espana was traditionally a two-legged affair played between the winners of LaLiga and the Copa del Rey at the beginning of the season, but following last term’s one-off meeting between Barca and Sevilla in Tangier, Morocco, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) went ahead with a full revamp.
Instead of just two teams being involved, the Supercopa has been expanded to also include the runners-up from LaLiga and the Copa – meaning Barca and Valencia are joined by Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. It is also set to be hosted in Saudi Arabia for the next three editions.
Many have criticised RFEF’s decision to take the competition to Saudi Arabia and Valverde suggested he favours the old format.
“It is a different format than we are used to,” Valverde said ahead of Barca’s semi-final against Atletico on Thursday.
“It’s a final match and we approach it as a league game, knowing that we are looking for victory and we know how difficult it is to play against Atleti.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 8, 2020
“We already saw it in the league, which we solved in the end. If they [the authorities] give me a choice, I prefer the previous format.
“It has always been the first title of the season, the game that opens the season, and I thought it was good. The Supercopa format has been changed and we will see how it is.
“We must bear in mind that the football we are involved in is an industry, sources of income are sought and in the same way that there are special connotations in this country, there are also in Morocco, where we played last year.”
Barca’s preparations for Thursday’s match have not gone particularly well, however, as Wednesday’s news conference was delayed significantly after their team bus got lost in Jeddah.
Valverde was due to speak at Al-Ittihad Sport City, but their driver set off for the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, where the two semi-finals – the first of which is set for Wednesday – will take place.
Their bus then became lost in traffic between the two venues, which are approximately 40 miles apart.
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