BARCELONA – FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said on Friday that he expected this weekend’s La Liga match against Sevilla to be challenging.
Valverde praised Sevilla’s coach, Eduardo Berizzo, at a press conference on the eve of Saturday’s contest here at Camp Nou.
“When it comes to analyzing our opponents you don’t just look at the team, but how they have done when they have come to Camp Nou. Berizzo has picked up some good results here for Celta against Barça. He’s a coach who is not afraid of playing to win,” Valverde said.
He said that it was important for Barcelona to beat Sevilla ahead of the international break to bolster their position at the top of La Liga.
At the same time, Valverde said he did not give much weight to Barça’s current 4-point lead over Valencia or to the 8 points that now separate his team from Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
Superstar Lionel Messi is set to play his 600th match with the Catalan club, something Valverde considered “crazy.”
“But what matters is not just the 600 games but also what he has done in them, goals, assists and the brilliance that he produces,” the coach said.
Valverde said that midfielder Andres Iniesta was not fully recovered from a muscular strain that sidelined him during Barcelona’s last two matches.
“He has not been given the all-clear by the medical staff yet, we will have to see. He is an extraordinary player, who when he is out you always notice. Nevertheless, we have players with other characteristics who can also do a job,” the coach said.