Ernesto Valverde insists Ousmane Dembele’s Barcelona-Real Betis omission is not a punishment but notes ‘I make assessments for the good of the team’.
Dembele was left out of Barca’s squad for their game against Betis on Sunday, amidst reports the winger went AWOL for an hour and a half midweek.
“The only thing we hope for is that he shows his talent every day,” Valverde said at a Press conference.
“He’s a great player and we hope to see the best of him. I try to do what’s best for my team and club. Someone might play one game and then someone else the next.
“Internal issues stay internal. I make assessments that are for the good of the team and I take everything into account when making them.
“We want to help all our players improve. Everyone in the squad can be starters, knowing that after a spell without playing, they have to be ready.
“Messi being in the squad poses no risks. We’ll see if he can play for 90 minutes. He mustn’t have any fear because if he thinks about [his injury], it’ll limit him.
“ I see him very well and he’s feeling confident. It’s very important that we have him and Umtiti back for the value they have in the team and what they give us.
“Betis are an aggressive team, who don’t let you play and fight to have the ball. Both teams will try so that the other can’t play.
“With that in mind, there’ll be chances on the counter at some point and we’ll have to take advantage of them.
“Umtiti coming back poses a problem in defence, but Lenglet’s form is great news. We’re happy with him in every aspect.”