Saturday March 10 2018
Valverde: No time to experiment

Ernesto Valverde warns Barcelona’s trip to Malaga on Saturday “is not a game for experiments” as La Liga’s bottom team “beat us last season”.

Barca’s hopes of a third-straight League title under Luis Enrique were ultimately dashed by Malaga, who beat them 2-0 in a controversial match at La Rosaleda 11 months ago.

“Malaga? It’s not a game for experiments but rather a game to win. I don’t want anyone seeing it like a game for experiments because that would be a mistake,” the Coach said at a Press conference.

“Chelsea? For the first leg, we only had between Saturday and Tuesday, but now it’s between Saturday and Wednesday so we have one more day to prepare.

“We saw how the game against Las Palmas went, and we couldn’t win for certain reasons, but that must act as an incentive to face Malaga, a team that beat us last season.

“Teams near the bottom are the ones who pick up more points at this stage because they have huge needs and play at 200 percent as a result.

“Every game is important, so thinking Chelsea is the most important one would be an mistake.

“The most important one is the next one. Also, not winning one game puts more pressure on you for the next one, like it did after we played Las Palmas.

“Arthur? I know him, but he plays for another team and it would be wrong to say anything more than that he’s a good player.

“Title race? No-one falls out of it and no-one will give up. Malaga have the same distance [seven points] to safety and they’re going to give themselves a fighting chance because they have no other choice. It’s the same with Atletico and Real Madrid.

“Lack of chances? We’re one of the best teams in the world when it comes to the positional game and we have some of the best players in the world in that regard.

“Paulinho’s lack of goals? It’s true that he hasn’t scored lately, but he scored plenty at the start of the season and since then, Coutinho has arrived, posing problems for other teams.

“It seems like I have to worry about lots of things, but I don’t think were that bad…

“Pique? If he couldn’t train, that would be bad, but we have no problems with him. He’s pretty much recovered. He had an annoying injury, but it was also a small one.”

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