Ernesto Valverde heads back to former side Athletic Bilbao on Saturday and ahead of the game he has faced his usual press conference.
Unsurprisingly he was asked at length about Athletic, as well as the current political situation in Spain and his thoughts on the midweek win over Murcia.
Here are the best bits…
Valverde on La Liga without Barcelona
I’d like if we focused on sporting matters. More than anything as the political issue changes every half an hour.
I’m the coach of Barcelona and my job is for the team to win. I’m sure the politicians will try to do their best job too
That hasn’t happened yet [La Liga without Barca], we’re talking about hypothetical situations but it’s certainly not my role to talk on that matter, I just have to focus on tomorrow’s game.
Valverde on Athletic Bilbao
We can’t give an inch because Bilbao, even when they are going through difficulties are always able to mount spectacular comebacks at San Mames. I’m really looking forward to going to the new stadium.
Athletic are always a dangerous opponents. They are a team that always faces up to any problem, they have players who have been at the club a long time. It’s a very tight-knit squad, they know how to overcome difficult times and at the moment 11 points and in mid-table, it’s not that difficult a situation.
I do think they have the resources at the club to have a great season and to play a great game tomorrow. We have to be careful there’s no doubt about that, there’s something special about that club.
Valverde on Murcia win
It’s really good that some of the players who aren’t getting as much playing time got a run out to prove themselves. It’s not the result that matters as much as the way they played. I was very happy with the way things worked out. Right now we have to focus on competitions rather than signings, so it’s nice to know we have a deep squad
Valverde on Iniesta getting booed at San Mames
The more you talk about these things, the more they happen. I think it’s just circumstantial, the players are above these things, I’ve nothing to say on the matter really. Some stadiums boo some players, some boo others but they all go out there and play well.
Valvede on a tough fixture list
I think the team is really good, we are looking forward to a difficult week. We have Athletic, Olympiacos and then Sevilla, then there’s a break. I think the players are really keen for this, but you never know how games will work out.
We are confident, we need games to go the way we want them to go. We want to win them but there are always perhaps sections of the fixture list that look softer than harder but often that’s not how it works out.
We do have big games coming up, I think we are doing pretty well, we are confident, we are looking forward to dealing with the challenge ahead.
Valverde on Jordi Alba
He did train yesterday, we think he might be OK. We have to wait and see how things go in training this evening but we think he should be match fit. Let’s hope so.
Valverde on Luis Suarez
He’s OK, he’s played some good games already and been full of confidence. He wants some great games, like we all do. I think he’s been fine.