Cautious Ernesto Valverde ‘fears’ Juventus

Cautious Ernesto Valverde ‘fears’ Juventus

Before training in the Juventus Stadium, the Barça manager gives his views on the Champions League clash in Turin against what he regards as ‘one of Europe’s great teams’

Ernesto Valverde has given his views ahead of Barça’s Champions League fixture away to Juventus (Wednesday at 8.45pm CET).

After that, he took to the field in the company of his 19-strong squad to train in the Juventus Stadium, venue for tomorrow’s high profile encounter.

Here’s a collection of standout quotes from his pre-match press conference.

On Juventus:

“We expect Juventus to be at their best. They are very strong at home and have some quality players up front. They are the top goalscorers in their league and need a win tomorrow.”

“Generally, when you play well and don’t give the ball away, you have a better chance of winning. We’ll try to create chances to score and stop them from getting any. It’ll be a clash of styles. They’ll try to keep the ball as they’re playing at home. Our idea is to get a result through playing football".

Dybala is an important player for them, but they also have Pjanic, Cuadrado, Higuaín... Juventus are a strong unit".

“What I fear most about Juventus are their virtues. It would be very hard to choose which player to take away. Take out Dybala and they lose magic. Take out Higuaín and they lose goals. If you’ll let me take out five or six players, I really wouldn’t mind!”

On Italian football:

“People make a lot of comparisons between Spanish and Italian football. It’s certainly remarkable that Italy aren’t going to the World Cup. I don’t know what’s happened to Italian football. When there’s a cataclysm they talk about changing structures. But I still consider Juventus to be one of Europe’s great teams, and we fear them.”

On defensive issues:

"I try not to worry ahead of time. We have three players that can go at centre back without problems, and in principle our most important game is tomorrow’s. So we are covered for the time being. I’ll worry about that when I have to … Vermaelen? He has just played two games for his country, so as I understand it he is ready to play.”

On last year’s game:

"I don’t consider us to be favourites. It’ll be a tight match and I honestly don’t think there’s a clear favourite … Of course I’ve looked at last year’s loss. Not only now, but also before the game we played in New York. Now again in the Champions League, so I’m getting a bit bored of watching that video!”

“They played well last year. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have learned everything from what happened last year and we can turn it around this time.”

On the Barça defence:

“We try to play for each other and all defend when we don’t have the ball. Sometimes we are more brilliant than others. But that’s not just us. It happens to all teams.  So on the days when you’re not quite so brilliant, you need to be solid enough to get through. That’s why we have players like our keeper, who helps us a lot.”

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