Valverde vows to ‘reel in’ fans

Ernesto Valverde has vowed to give Barcelona fans a team that “reel them in” ahead of Sunday’s Supercopa first leg against Real Madrid.

Valverde’s appointment signalled an intent on Barca’s part to return to a more, possession-based style, and the former Athletic Bilbao boss is ready to deliver on the hype.

“We’re at ease. The Miami game is a reference for us, but it’s not the reference,” he said at a Press conference.

“Ultimately it was a friendly match. Now we’re playing for a trophy and things are more serious because of the importance [the tie] has.

“[The friendly] isn’t an absolute reference. They’ll be two tough games. Paulinho? I have no record of his arrival.

“Sergi Roberto is also a very important player for us. It’d be too much to talk about what can happen. We’ll be like this until August 31.

“Paulinho isn’t going to play tomorrow, he’s with his team. I have enough players willing to play in Neymar’s absence.

“Inigo Martínez? The players that have come out aren’t personal requests but rather club matters.

“I don’t know what’s been said. We’ve been talking a lot about the Clasico and the game. What’s being said is impossible to control.

“I know we’re in a whirlpool of news, but we’re busy focusing on the game. We have to adapt to the players we have.

“The way we play, in terms of tactics, will be suited to the players we have.

“What’s important is style, more than the system, and it’s what we should keep, regardless of playing with three, four or five at the back.

“I see Messi in a very good way, he’s very focused, he’s had a great preseason in all aspects and we’re hoping for the best.

“With Deulofeu, we only have his performance against Chapecoense to use as a reference.

“It’s too early to judge his understanding with the other players, although I liked his performance in the Gamper Trophy. We’ll see when we’re faced by real difficulties.

“I’m not going to say how I’d prefer Madrid to play, I won’t give information to our rivals.

“Regardless of who plays, we know their potential, they have good players and won the European Super Cup by playing well.

“What worries me the most is my own team, that’s what’s important to me.

“Modric’s a great player, we won’t hide it, with profundity, shooting, drive, but they also have similar players like Kovacic and Isco.

“Madrid in the European Super Cup? Barcelona had less time to prepare for the Supercopa when they lost to Athletic, so I don’t think the physical aspect will have much of a bearing.

“I hope the fans see a team that reel them in, like they have in recent years, a team that play with consistency in their game and applies it in matches.

“We sense the fans have enthusiasm for our game, that they feel proud and identify with us.

“In football, sometimes it depends on whether the ball goes in or not, but we’ll give everything to win.

“Sometimes you have to drop players who give everything in training. That’s the hardest thing for a Coach, but the decisions are mine and everyone knows that.

“I only knew that Neymar was leaving when he told me, when he came into my office and told me. Before that, I didn’t know.

“We’re seeing an increase in market prices year after year. That’s what we’re experiencing. Only recently, €30m was an outrage. Now, €30m or €40m isn’t so much.

“Unthinkable numbers are being bandied about. No-one believed that €222m could be paid for a single player, but we have to adapt to this climate.

“These are situations that you can find yourself in and you have to accept them over time, but there are two Clasicos coming up, so I’m not thinking too much about it.”

Tags Ernesto Valverde Supercopa de Espana
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