FC Barcelona welcome Girona to Camp Nou this Saturday at 8.45pm CET. It will be the first ever official meeting between the two Catalan clubs at the stadium and Barça boss Ernesto Valverde was full of praise for his opponents in La Liga. “Girona are a team with a bit of a spark, they always attack and get in your face and they don’t sit back,” said the coach.

The boss continued: “It’s a derby and they are having a terrific season. They are a newly promoted side and are without doubt the surprise package of the league.”

“They have a very clear way of playing and you can recognise that. They have excellent players on the counter like Stuani and Portu who are both in great form.”

Their system is a bit special, a little like that of Chelsea. They have caught my attention and there are a lot of teams who have to adapt to try and stop what they do.”

Girona is the first of three important league games for Barça this week. On Thursday the blaugranes travel to Las Palmas and on Sunday 4 March they face a key clash against second placed league rivals Atlético at Camp Nou. Valverde is fully aware of what is at stake over the next week or so. “Nine points are up for grabs and we know the importance of that. There are 14 games left in the league three come this week,” concluded the Barça coach.

Valverde also gave his opinion on Sergi Roberto, the man who signed his contract extension until 2022 on Thursday. “He is a player who adapts well to playing at the back. He can bring the ball out wide or through the middle and he can play with his back to goal…he has managed to become a valuable player in the dressing room and he is playing really well. It’s a luxury to have Sergi Roberto,” concluded the Barça coach.

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