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Ernesto Valverde: 'Playing against Espanyol motivates us'

Ernesto Valverde: 'Playing against Espanyol motivates us'

The FC Barcelona coach expects a 'strong' rival and believes that to beat them his team will have to be 'very concentrated'

FC Barcelona return to La Liga action this Saturday (8:45pm CET), in the Catalan derby. At his press conference, Ernesto Valverde acknowledged that not having been able to train with the whole group for a few days "could be a handicap,” but at the same time he acknowledged that "it motivates us to play against Espanyol."

The coach expects Barça's opponents "to play aggressively" noting that "they are a team that likes to play on the counter attack,” before adding that “our idea is to win and we have to be very concentrated." On Tuesday, the Champions League resumes but that’s of no interest at present. “Saturday’s game is important and is our absolute priority,” Valverde said.

Ousmane Dembélé could make his debut and no international action for the Frenchman is likely to benefit Barça. "It was good for him to stay here. Every day he gets better and more involved in the group. He’s ready."

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