FC Barcelona’s Ernesto Valverde And Nelson Semedo Speak On Slavia Prague, Levante Loss, Suarez Injury and Puig Future

Forbes Finance 2 weeks ago
Barcelona's Spanish coach Ernesto Valverde gestures during a press conference at the Joan Gamper ... [+] Sports City training ground in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona, on November 4, 2019, on the eve of the UEFA Champions League Group F football match between FC Barcelona and SK Slavia Prague. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP) (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde and defender Nelson Semedo have spoken on a wide range of topics prior to their team’s hosting of Slavia Prague in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Speaking to the press first, in-form Portuguese star Semedo said that tomorrow his side ‘play a very important game’. ‘We want to win. We know it will be complicated, as it was in Prague,’ he admitted.

‘"The Champions League is a very difficult competition, but we are Barça. We are candidates to win every competition and we want to win them all. We have to go game by game and keep improving,’ he added.

Asked whether it was strange standing-in for Jordi Alba on the left and if he was better there, Semedo was non-commital and merely replied that he plays ‘where the boss decides’. ‘I just try to do my best, all games are difficult, but the spaces that were given to me [in the Levante loss] allowed me to play better,’ he expanded, on being one of the few bright sparks in the loss.

‘We are a very strong team at home. I think we need to improve our away form,’ confessed Semedo - an allusion to 3-1’s humbling defeat on Saturday - but he refused to accept that his team lacks attitude or possesses a poor one, as has been suggested by some corners of the press. ‘We’ve gotten over the setback against Levante and tomorrow is a chance to correct errors and respond.’

‘I can't talk about those things, each player knows what they need to correct,’ he said, when probed on whether specific problems that need to be addressed had been discussed behind the scenes.

‘We learn from our defeats,’ was the retort to whether pyschological problems, after the harrowing Roma and Liverpool away defeats in the Champions League knockout phases in 2018 and 2019, persist. ‘We’re working together to find better results, [and] we really try to play better,’ he concluded.

Next up was Valverde, who was forced to confirm whether a switch to 4-4-2, as suggested analysts in the Catalan press, had been considered. ‘The possibility of changing the system is always there,’ conceded Valverde. ‘But having three forwards fits the way we play.’

Naturally, the under-pressure coach was grilled on FCB’s Jekyll and Hyde form away from home "[Is there a] Huge difference between Barça at home and Barça away?’ he pondered. ‘We did start badly, but then we had a good run away from home. Now we lost again, but it doesn't have to mean we will extend that to a streak.’

‘It's not a big injury,’ he remarked on Luis Suarez’s knock at the Estadi Ciutat de València. ‘Tomorrow is unlikely, but maybe he will be with us soon.’

Playing earlier tomorrow, at 18.55 CET compared to the usual 21.00, is seen as ‘no problem’ for Valverde, who elsewhere remarked that ‘It's true that we must improve in some aspects’. ‘When you lose, you're always under pressure, especially at Barça. It forces a reaction from us,’ he said.

Complimenting Frenkie de Jong, ‘a very strong player’, who is ‘giving us a lot’, praise was also set aside for Antoine Griezmann. ‘Griezmann is fitting very well in the team. He does an incredible job, together with the team. He has scored goals and we expect even more from him,’ was what Valverde had to divulge about the World Cup winner.

Regarding La Masia graduate Riqui Puig, who has refused to go out on loan and has had his future speculated on after a demotion to the B team, Valverde revealed that ‘Riqui is a talent and it's clear that he will play at Barça, but we do not know when.’

‘We have a lot of midfielders in the midfield and that, of course, is a handicap. Riqui is a great talent,’ he finished, on that particular matter.

Losing their winning streak of seven matches, Barcelona will look to steady the ship with two victories over Slavia Prague, to keep atop of the Champions League’s Group F, and Celta Vigo on Saturday to maintain their lead in La Liga heading into the international break.

Source link
Read also:
Evening Standard › Sports › 2 weeks ago
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde admits he is under pressure ahead of his side's Champions League clash at home to Slavia Prague on Tuesday, but says he expects a positive reaction from his team after Saturday's 3-1 loss at Levante.
Evening Standard › Sports › 2 weeks ago
Barcelona were held to a goalless Champions League draw at home by Slavia Prague on Tuesday night to increase the pressure on coach Ernesto Valverde.
Evening Standard › Sports › 2 weeks ago
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde insists young midfielder Riqui Puig will go on to play for the club's first team, but claims he does not know when that will happen.
Mirror Online › Sports › 1 week ago
Ernesto Valverde has endured a difficult week at Barcelona which has ended with him fighting for his job. Barca lost to Levante in La Liga before struggling to a home draw vs Slavia Prague in the Champions League
Evening Standard › Sports › 3 weeks ago
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has played down criticism after his side's lack of running in their 2-1 win over Slavia Prague in the Champions League last Wednesday by citing club icon Johan Cruyff.
Forbes › Finance › 2 weeks ago
Ernesto Valverde has spoken ahead of his side’s visit to mid-table Levante on Saturday and commented on a range of subjects such as his side's opposition, the form of Frenkie de Jong, Lionel Messi's return to the Argentina national team and Gerard...
Evening Standard › Sports › 1 week ago
After Barcelona's 3-1 loss at Levante in LaLiga last Saturday, a Valencia-based journalist asked Ernesto Valverde if he was thinking of handing in his resignation.
Forbes › Finance › 2 weeks ago
On an afternoon where concerns and disappointments were manyfold, the sight of Luis Suarez pulling up injured in the 41st minute to be replaced by Carles Perez was among the first to emerge prior to FC Barcelona being soundly beaten 3-1 by Levante on...
Evening Standard › Sports › 2 weeks ago
Barcelona defender Nelson Semedo has admitted that the Catalans will need to improve on their recent rocky form in order to win the Champions League this season.
Forbes › Finance › 1 week ago
FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has spoken on a wide range of topics including his future, the struggling Messi-Griezmann connection, and his team’s poor form prior to their La Liga clash with Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou on Saturday.
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google