LOS ANGELES, California — FC Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde and one of his newest players, Clément Lenglet, appeared at the first pre-game press conference of the 2018/19 season on Friday, one day before Barça is set to take on Tottenham in preseason action at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The press conference was held at UCLA, where later in the afternoon Barça held its final preparatory training session before facing the Premier League team in the International Champions Cup.
Here are the highlights of what they had to say.
On whether the team might sign more players:
“We are open to other possibilities. We did lose [Paulinho], an important player in the midfield, but we have other players and are also looking at players from the B team.”
On whether he’ll make any changes to the 4-4-2 system used last season:
“There are players who have yet to arrive. So we have multiple possibilities to explore regarding the system we use. It also depends on the players we have. We are are looking at variations, especially in defence. But there aren’t too many secrets regarding formations.”
On who he is looking to use to cover the losses of Iniesta and Paulinho:
“It doesn’t just depend on me, but also the Club officials who make new signings. Nevertheless, I’m looking for players who can adapt to the ones we already have.”
On players who are tough to replace, and whether Real Madrid losing Ronaldo will make it easier for Barça to win:
“We don’t know. But we have to recognise the kind of player Cristiano was and what he brought to Real Madrid and La Liga. But we lost Andrés [Iniesta].”
On Barça’s goal of winning the Champions League:
“We want to win everything. But it’s not easy to play at this Club. We don’t just have to win, but we also have to play well.”
On how he’s feeling as such a new player:
“I’m very happy to be here. I was prepared to come over here and I feel better every day.”
On whether having multiple centre backs away on vacation gives him more of an opportunity to win a spot in the starting lineup:
“There’s more of a possibility for me to play. We all get time to play in the preseason and you just have to make the most out of it.”