Barcelona Spoke to the press before Eibar trip
Ernesto Valverde feels that the upcoming Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid will go ahead as scheduled on October 26, despite fears over security.
The current unrest in Catalonia has sparked concerns over whether the match can take place at the Camp Nou, with rescheduling the fixture to a later date now looking a possibility as the two clubs have refused to move the game to Madrid.
However Valverde expressed a more positive outlook on the situation during his press conference.
“It is scheduled for October 26 and I have no doubt that it will go ahead without problems, respecting the opponents and everyone else involved,” he began.
“I do not know what decision the [Spanish Football] Federation will take. We will do whatever is decided.”
Valverde referred to a similar scenario two years ago to back up why he feels that the game can still be held as first planned.
“There are nine days left until the match and there is [currently] too much talk,” he stated.
“The same was said about October 1 [the date of the 2017 Catalan referendum] and a week later we played at the Wanda [Metropolitano] where everyone expected a dramatic event and it ended up being a great game where people expressed themselves without a problem.
“There is room to manoeuvre. If the match were tomorrow then perhaps [it wouldn’t go ahead], but there are still nine days to go,” he stressed.
Before the Clasico, however, Barcelona still need to travel to Eibar and get a result, and the coach and Valverde confirmed that Leo Messi was close to a return to full fitness after an injury-ravaged start to the campaign.
“He is in the process of being 100 percent fit.
“The other day he played 90 minutes and scored, that always reassures the strikers,” he told the press.
“He has to go slowly to find reach top form. He only has one full game under his belt.
“We hope he can give us much more in the coming matches. “
While the news surrounding Messi is a boost, Valverde will still be disappointed to be travelling to the Basque Country without Ousmane Dembele who is suspended after speaking out of turn to the referee in the 4-0 win over Sevilla.
“I asked Dembele what he had said to the referee and there is a small difference between what he said and what was said in the report.
“There are times when the referees send you off for saying a few things and other occasions when they don’t for saying obscenities,” he stated.
Despite a bumpy start to the season, Barcelona are now looking to make it five wins on the trot when they go to Eibar.
“We have had a difficult time and what I like is that we have been able to react. That is the most important thing.
“In fact, it is what we have been doing in recent years, overcoming slumps.
“What we would like is to go top, but we cannot because we have slipped up.”