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On Thursday Barça visit Las Palmas in La Liga with coach Ernesto Valverde insistent that his squad will not allow their minds to drift to their other league fixture this week at Camp Nou. “The three points from Thursday are just as important as the game against Atlético Madrid on Sunday,” said the Barça coach in his traditional pre-game press conference at the Ciutat Esportiva in Barcelona. The boss added: “Las Palmas will pressure us high up the field and they will try to bring the ball out from the back. That will be work for us and at the same time they have improved defensively in recent matches.”

Valverde was quizzed on the possible appearance of Piqué, Luis Suárez and Dembélé in the starting line up on Thursday. “Piqué is fine and he trained yesterday. Against Girona we substituted him because he took a knock that was nothing to do with the previous injury,” said the Barça boss, adding that Dembélé “is feeling good mentally and is training well” before ending by not giving anything away with regards to the presence of the Uruguayan striker from the start in the Estadio Gran Canaria.

Valverde: ‘Quini was a born goalscorer and charming person’

The Barça also paid tribute to former Barça striker Quini who passed away at the age of 68 on Tuesday. “He’s a person who meant a lot in footballing terms. He was a born goalscorer and he was easy going, affectionate and good company,” said Valverde.
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