Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 October 2019

Ernesto Valverde dismisses crisis talk at Barcelona, despite worst start in 25 years

Manager confident wins are just round the corner, ahead of La Liga clash against Villarreal on Tuesday

Barcelona forwards Lionel Messi, left, and Antoine Griezmann at training ahead of their La Liga match against Villarreal on Tuesday. EPA
Barcelona forwards Lionel Messi, left, and Antoine Griezmann at training ahead of their La Liga match against Villarreal on Tuesday. EPA

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde says he is not worried about his future, despite the club's poor start to the season, dismissing suggestions the Spanish champions are in crisis.

The Catalans are eighth in La Liga with seven points from five games after losing 2-0 at Granada on Saturday. It is their worst start to a season for 25 years.

After the Granada defeat, Valverde said: "I'm worried. Away from home we are not getting good results and when that happens a few times, like now, it's a symptom of not [playing] very well. We are not playing good games."

Barca have failed to win any of their last eight competitive games away from Camp Nou across all competitions.

"Coaches always have something on the line in every game, that's nothing new," Valverde, though, was more bullish ahead of Tuesday's clash with Villarreal.

"Crisis? The world of football is like this, you're in crisis every three days and then you come out of it the same way, that what's we've got to try and do.

"The only way to calm everything down is to get six points from the [next] two games.

"In previous years we've always been consistent and had an advantage on the rest but this time we've not started well. "We need to put that right."

Forward Ousmane Dembele returns to the squad to face Villarreal after a hamstring injury, while midfielder Ivan Rakitic has been left out.

"They always ask me about those who aren't in the squad, the reason is because someone else is in," said Valverde, who has recalled Carles Alena.

"[Rakitic] is not being punished, we have many midfielders and that is the decision for this game, we'll see what happens on Saturday [against Getafe].

"Dembele can shake things up. We know what he can do, its now up to him to prove it on the pitch."

Updated: September 24, 2019 08:40 AM

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