Ernesto Valverde won’t just be looking to help Barça stay perfect on the season across all competitions when Girona visit Camp Nou on Sunday at 8.45pm CEST, he’ll also be going for a third win in three tries versus the team that hails from an hour north of Barcelona, which are only in their second season ever in the Spanish top flight.
And to make things a little more interesting, Girona are now led by former Barça man Eusebio Sacristán, who not only played for the Blaugranas but also managed the Barça B team before becoming the head coach at Real Sociedad, which he left this summer for Girona.
Here are the highlights of what Valverde had to say heading into the first Catalan derby of the 2018/19 season.
“Girona are playing with no fear and they know they have nothing to lose.”
“They had a great year last season, with an attacking mentality, and this year they have Eusebio.”
“We’ll have to be very sharp because they are coming in-form.”
“Girona play well with two systems, but knowing Eusebio, maybe they'll do something different.”
“They have center backs who are good on attack and they also have Stuani. We really have to be careful in the aerial game and on set pieces.”
“Eusebio is a coach who always stands tall and it will be an intense match."
“We’ve faced Eusebio before and he’s faced Barça before. We know what has happened in those games and we have kept that in mind when preparing for this one.”
"We have three tough games in a row. This week we have three very tough meetings in six days."
“Arthur had gastroenteritis and didn’t train on Friday. We’ll see if he’s available.”
“We hope he can join us. He took part in the full workout on Friday.”
“The more players we have available, the more don’t make the squad list. But, the season is very long.”