Recuperating superstar, Lionel Messi has been included in Barcelona‘s squad for the contest against Borussia Dortmund tonight, but Ernesto Valverde has claimed that he has yet to decide if the Argentine will play in Germany.
Concise News reports that the Spanish trainer made clear that the decision on whether Messi will return to action at Signal Iduna Park will be taken before the match.
“We will decide tomorrow [if Messi can play],” Valverde said at Barcelona’s pre-match press conference.
“A few days ago we were not very clear, but the last training ended well and he is no longer thinking about the pain he had.
“It is important to play without thinking.
“He has improved a lot, but we will see tomorrow.”
Should Ansu Fati debut in Germany, he will be the youngest Barcelona player to ever do so in the Champions League, but Valverde insisted he would only use him for tactical reasons.
“I haven’t talked to him much, except for tactical things,” he added.
“I don’t like giving advice too much, but I’ll talk to him.
“It’s about everyone around treating him naturally.
“We’ll see if he plays, and if he does it’s not for breaking a record but for the team’s needs.”
Furthermore, the 55-year-old coach reflected on last year’s elimination at the hands of Liverpool, urging his players to stay focused on the future.
“Last year we won eight or nine games, we lost one and we didn’t reach the final,” Valverde noted.
“The two [teams] in the final lost more games than us.
“Here you can’t disregard 10 minutes as mistakes are costly.
“In the same way we win, sometimes we lose.
“The important thing is to get back up, but that belongs to the past and now the future begins.
“Football always gives you a new opportunity.”
Ter Stegen: Barcelona have to learn from their past mistakes
Buttressing his coach’s point, Marc-Andre ter Stegen indicated that Barcelona have to find solutions to the mistakes they have made in the last two Champions League eliminations to Roma and Liverpool.
The Germany international believes that his teammates should forge ahead.
“There is always pressure in the Champions League, in which the level is very high,” Ter Stegen told the press conference.
“We have to learn from the situations from which we failed in other years and not forget.
“It will be a very difficult game [against Dortmund] and we have to be at one hundred percent from the beginning.
“It is a very difficult ground [Signal Iduna Park] where I suffered against Borussia [Monchengladbach].
“Whoever does not know it will get goosebumps.
“We want to win and get off to a good start so that we can go into the next games with confidence.”
Barcelona’s defence has yet to find its stability since the start of the season, but Ter Stegen is confident that this will happen soon.
“We try not to concede goals, but it doesn’t work out for us,” he added.
“It’s not what we expect from the games we’ve played.
“We have to accept the situation and we must improve in some areas.
“These are failures that can be corrected easily.
“The good thing is that our communication is very good.”
Manuel Neuer answered to Ter Stegen’s remarks on the latter being a second-choice goalkeeper for Germany, and the Barcelona shot-stopper came back insisting that his reaction was normal.
“Everyone who can’t play wants to do it and they are not happy,” he noted.
“It is the feeling I have, and I have expectations.
“In recent years you can see how I have behaved and what Neuer, and other people have said is not fair.
“I want to end this controversy.”