NEWS
Friday January 12 2018
Valverde: Don't want Madrid

Ernesto Valverde has admitted that he does not want Barcelona to be drawn Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

A Clasico could await in the last eight after Barca demolished Celta Vigo 5-0 on Thursday and Madrid overcame second-tier Numancia, but Valverde was keen on facing Los Blancos “later in the competition”.

“I don't want to be drawn Madrid, but I have to say that so we can play them later in the competition,” the Coach said after the game.

“Dembele? He's taken an important step. When he plays, something always looks like happening because of the pace and technique he has.

“He's different to the others. He needs time to adapt, but he's dared to do more. Messi? He's fine, we were on top and there's an important match on Sunday,.

“Taking him off? I do it naturally. I don't know what happened before. Gomes? There's always a shadow of doubt about him, but it's like the Vermaelen situation.

“When he plays, he does so wonderfully. Andre knows how to play, he's strong and he links up with his teammates.

“Mascherano's farewell? We'll wait. The fans appreciate him a lot for how long he's been here. Alba and Messi? They've found each other more and they're doing very well. It's great for us.

“They look for each other and are happy to do so. Their goals are being scored mutually.

“Best performance of the season? We've played very well in other games, but the team came out very focused.

“We knew that our opponents had what it took to have a good game, but we were focused and had an extraordinary first half, regularly getting into their box and finishing our chances off.

“We thought about Sunday in the second half. Twenty-games unbeaten? These are important numbers, but it's always the same.

“You mustn't look back but go forward. Now we have two away games in the League and Cup coming up.

“Mina? He's player that the club have been following for some time, and we think he can help us. He's young, he has potential and he's confident in his ability.

“We'll see how he adapts to our style, the League, European football… He needs time to adapt, but we hope he can help us this season.”

Football Italia website