Ernesto Valverde confirms Ousmane Dembele is close to returning as Gerard Deulofeu and Nelson Semedo are dropped for Barcelona’s visit of Celta Vigo.
Dembele has been out of action since tearing his hamstring on his Liga debut three months ago, but he is back training with Barca’s first team and Valverde suggested there was the possibility that the winger could play again before Christmas.
“Although past games don’t help us much, they show us that we’ll have to be vigilant,” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“Unzue’s a student of the game and the fact that he knows us so well makes this game dangerous for us.
“His internal knowledge of Barca is an advantage for them and a disadvantage for us. The fact Unzue is their Coach means they have a very clear way of playing,
“They want to be the team on top and they’ll also want to be that team at Camp Nou.
“Dembele? His recovery is going very well, although we won’t run any risks with him, taking into account the time he’s been out inured.
“In principle, we’ll have him back after Christmas, but we’ll see how the days shape up and when he can re-join the group.
“Rafinha? We must go carefully with him, but he feels good and wants to return to the team.”
Deulofeu and Semedo will not be part of Barca squad against Celta, despite neither carrying any physical problems, and Valverde was specifically asked about the forward.
“Deulofeu? We have a big squad and often some come in and go out,” added the Basque.
“He’s expressed an insistence on trying to unbalance a match with his playing style and trying to be decisive in attack.”
Barca squad for Celta: Ter Stegen, Cillessen, Pique, Rakitic, Busquets, Denis, Iniesta, Suarez, Messi, Paulinho, Alcacer, Alba, Digne, Sergi Roberto, Gomes, Vidal, Umtiti, Vermaelen