Valverde: Atleti like a Final

Ernesto Valverde claims Barcelona will “put all the meat on the spit” against Atletico Madrid in Sunday’s top-of-the-table tussle.

Explaining Barca’s mentality for the clash at Camp Nou, Valverde noted how if Atleti won, they would cut the deficit to two points, whereas the Catalans would move eight clear with a victory.

“It’s an important match for the League, but there’s a lot of the season left,” the Coach said at a Press conference.

“These are three very important points up for grabs. If they win, they cut the deficit, and if we win, we’d increase our lead, although there’d still be a long way to go.

“We’re treating it as if it were our last game. We must treat it as a Final because of the intensity that Atletico will apply on the field.

“They’re a team that always try to surprise you and defend very well. Sometimes they’re very deep and sometimes they press high.

“I hope we face an Atletico side that press us and make us suffer. If they score a goal against you, they take refuge behind and are very good on the counter.

“They come into the game from two big results. They’ve scored nine goals in two games, when normally they’re a team that make a lot of profit from the goals they score.

“At the end of the first round, we were nine points clear, but they’ve been trimmed. Every game in this phase is decisive.

“We’re going to put all the meat on the spit. The prize is juicy as we’d go eight points clear of the team in second.

“My calmness? It’s from the good account we’ve given of ourselves, remembering matches like the ones at Wanda, Juventus Stadium, the Bernabeu and Stamford Bridge.

“Fixture pile-up? I’ve already talked about the calendar and I don’t want to go there again.

“I mentioned it because these were two League games and not in another competition.

“Atletico play on Thursdays and Sundays. They know how hard it is, but I don’t want to keep going on about it.

“The fans spurring us on is a guarantee. Sometimes they don’t know what their support means to us.

“Coutinho? He’s getting used to the team. I see him in a good way, he can help us in lots of ways.

“He comes from a League where sometimes a more direct game is played. Here we give him control of the game.

“He has what it takes to adapt. The dribblers who go at their opponents and break lines are hard to come by.”

Tags Ernesto Valverde