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Ernesto Valverde made his first appearance in the press room on Friday following the break for international fixtures. The Barça boss was clear about the importance of Saturday’s trip to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium in La Liga. “If we win that would be important with regards to the title. It’s an attractive game and with a lot at stake but it is tough ground to visit.”

I am expecting a Sevilla side with few changes and for them it’s a vital game as they need points to stay in fourth place [in the table].”

Asked about the fitness of Leo Messi, Valverde have his verdict: “He has a slight injury but we don’t want it to become more serious. After training we will make a decision.”

With regards to Sergio Busquets, the midfielder missed the recent internationals with Spain after injuring a foot in the win over Chelsea in the Champions League, Valverde said: “The idea is that this week he will train with the rest of the squad and that we can have him back in the next few days.”

Finally, the Barça coach looked ahead to the prospect of seven games in the next 22 days. “We have been doing this since the start of the league season. We are where we wanted to be and we have the squad for it. We have to back up what we have been doing up to now as we are in a decisive month,” concluded Valverde.

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