Barcelona will be without injured France defender, Samuel Umtiti for their game against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, where Valverde spent four years as coach before he took over at the Nou Camp in 2017.
Umtiti has suspected knee ligament injury and could spend several months on the sidelines, with a race to be fit before the end of 2018. In Umtiti’s absence, Lionel Messi and his fellow Barca team-mates trained at the club’s Joan Gamper base on Friday ahead of the weekend fixture, which they will be desperate to win after a shock 2-1 loss to Leganes last time out.
Valverde admitted he’s considering resting Pique who gave the ball away in the build up to Leganes’s second goal, although Valverde insisted he’s not concerned by the centre backs.
‘It’s a possibility because (Clement) Lenglet and (Thomas Vermaelen can play together. I’m not worried about the error, I’m far more concerned about how we conceded the first goal than a freak mistake,’ said the coach.
Valverde believes he and his players faced excessive criticism for their shock 2-1 defeat by lowly Leganes, while also admitting his side need to improve after dropping 5 points in their last two La Liga games.
The Catalans are still joint top of the standings, though, locked on 13 points with Real Madrid after six games.’When any team concedes two goals in a minute it’s an accident, but it’s obvious we have to improve.
I say the same even after a victory, but we know that here defeats cause earthquakes,’ Valverde told a news conference ahead of Barca’s game at home to Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Saturday.
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