Thursday, January 21, 2021

Ernesto Valverde reveals the changes he will make against Granada

The muscular injury of Jordi Alba in Dortmund opens the door for Former Betis Player Junior Firpo . Ernesto Valverde, can again place Nelso Semedo in the left back position and play Sergi Roberto in the right back spot as he did in the last match against Dortmund but he confirmed the presence of Junior Firpo in the starting lineup.

“It is a good opportunity for Junior, we have him, he has to get used to the group, but it is a good option for him,” said the coach, who also announced changes in the midfield area, without revealing the names names: “Now we will have several games without rest, so we will look to rotate our players.”

Ousmane Dembele could be in the Barcelona squad to face Granada. The Frenchman trained in part of Thursday’s session and will complete it all on Friday, said Ernesto Valverde.

Dembele got injured at San Mames on August 16, the first game of the season. That was a Friday and then after not attending tests on the Saturday, he was eventually found to have a hamstring injury which would keep him out for five weeks – that’s today.

“Today he will train with the group, we hope for the whole session and then we’ll see,” said Valverde. The coach asked the player “to fight so nobody takes his place”, but said he’s “not asking him anything we wouldn’t ask the others.”

Ansu Fati has impressed in Dembele’s absence. Asked if he could take the winger’s spot, Valverde added: “We’ll see. For now they haven’t coincide in training or in the team.”

Ernesto Valverde spoke on Friday about Ansu Fati, who is set to be called up by Spain U17s, and the coach said he would rather keep the young forward.

“Let’s see if they call him up. They needed to do up paperwork and we’ll see with that,” Valverde told reporters.

“It would be a setback because he’s a player who is giving us a lot. If it had happened in this run of games it would have been an even bigger setback, but we’ll be cautious and wait and see what happens.”

“Each player should take their own decisions. He’s a young lad, we need to be wary but we won’t get ahead of ourselves right now.”

Ansu, 16, is the youngest Liga goalscorer in Barcelona history.

Lionel Messi will start at Granada. After playing 30 minutes or so against Borussia Dortmund on his comeback from injury, he’s ready to go from the start at Nuevo Los Carmenes, said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde at his press conference on Friday.

“He did well I think, given the difficulty of the game, he got involved and was good,” said Valverde. “(Now we have to wait for him to) add up the games and minutes to keep getting towards the optimum point of form. Yes, we expect that he can play tomorrow.”

The coach also said that Messi would be rotated this year like last season. “Last year he rotated like the rest of the players, and it caught attention because he started some games from the bench. This year the same will happen because it’s inevitable with this number of games,” he added.

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