Valverde calls for 'respect' as Barcelona make early dash to Eibar

By Sports Desk October 17, 2019

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde issued an appeal for calm as his team made an early dash to Eibar to avoid more possible protests in their home city.

Violent scenes broke out in Barcelona at the start of the week after nine Catalan political leaders were dealt long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent declaration of independence.

Barcelona's main airport was briefly closed on Tuesday due to the tension, with Spanish league officials later suggesting the Clasico with Real Madrid next week could be moved from Camp Nou to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Talk around that match dominated Valverde's media conference on Thursday, which had been designated to preview this Saturday's game against Eibar.

It emerged that Barca would be leaving on Thursday to make the trip to the Basque Country, rather than departing on Friday as would normally be the case.

"Tomorrow there could be things going on, protests in Barcelona," Valverde said. "There could be travel issues and we have to be there for the game. It's Saturday at 1pm and we thought this was the best option."

Valverde grew up in the Basque region and played for Athletic Bilbao for six years.

He is no stranger to tense political climates surrounding autonomy given that background, but regarding events in Catalonia he said: "I don't want to get too far into the things that are going on. They are issues that have been going on for years.

"What's happened recently is not habitual. We want people to be able to express themselves with the maximum level of freedom.

"Everyone has to respect each other and maybe that hasn’t been there the last few days."

He added: "At this time I think things need to be done in the political world so that there’s understanding. Obviously there are things you don't like to see and we hope that's a one-time thing, and that's it."

Valverde should be more comfortable once Barcelona are out of the city and he can focus on the Eibar game, an important fixture for the club given their mixed start to the campaign.

They sit second in LaLiga, two points behind Real Madrid, and have struggled at times over their opening eight games, in which they have suffered two losses.

Looking ahead to the Eibar trip, Valverde said: "These games are important because we're not at top of the table and we need three points.

"We did have a bit of a tough stretch and we reacted well to it. Sometimes you don't play well but you win anyway and you expect the team to react and that's what we've done in recent years.

"We would like to be in first place but we're not because we tripped up in a few games."

Related items

  • Clarendon College still unbeaten as daCosta Cup final date with Dinthill looms Clarendon College still unbeaten as daCosta Cup final date with Dinthill looms

    Lenworth Hyde, the coach of defending champions Clarendon College is still on course for being the first man to claim the ISSA/Wata daCosta Cup title on back-to-back occasions both as a player and as a coach.

    Clarendon College are unbeaten this season and that did not look likely to change when they played against a trying McGrath High School in the semi-final on Wednesday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

    Clarendon, the defending champions and favourites, ended winning 3-0 courtesy of a brace from Sheldon Smart and a beauty from Jalen Larmand.

    Smart got his goals in the 47th and 69th minutes of play while Larmand would score in the 79th to seal the victory.’

    Clarendon College have been known to start quickly this season but were forced to wait until the second half before they would have any joy.

    According to Hyde, neither he nor his team were worried by the resistance put up by the opposition’s pluckiness, saying he knew he would be able to make a difference at half time.

    “We talked in the changing room and we know that sometimes these things happen and it is how you handle it and I think we handled it well,” said the winning coach.

    Situations like the one that faced Clarendon on Wednesday, Hyde explained, required a slightly different outlook on the game.

    “We showed patience and we waited until our chances came. We weren’t flustered. We knew our people and we knew what the result would be,” he said.

    Clarendon College will face a whole different proposition when they play against Dinthill High School in the DaCosta Cup final, but Hyde, again, isn’t too concerned.

    “There isn’t much to work on ahead of the final because we were possessing the ball, we defended well because as you can see this was a clean sheet. That is how the game goes sometimes,” said Hyde.

    “We can score in the first five seconds or we can score in the 93rd minute. That’s how this team is. We coach them that way, to be patient and to wait their turn,” he warned.

    Dinthill joined Clarendon College in the final after a 2-1 surprise win over more highly fancied opposition in Cornwall College.

  • Southgate set to restore Sterling to England side for Kosovo clash Southgate set to restore Sterling to England side for Kosovo clash

    England manager Gareth Southgate is set to restore axed star Raheem Sterling to the starting line-up for Sunday's Euro 2020 qualifying trip to Kosovo following his altercation with Joe Gomez.

    Sterling will miss Thursday's fixture against Montenegro at Wembley as punishment for his confrontation with England team-mate and Liverpool defender Gomez.

    The pair clashed during Sunday's Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool and were involved in an incident in a private area of England's St George's Park training base.

    While Sterling will sit out England's 1,000th match in London, the City forward is poised to return to the fold against Kosovo in Group A.

    "Yes," Southgate said when asked if Sterling will start on Sunday. "Without knowing what might happen in tomorrow's game and everything else, but I can see that being the case.

    "His reaction has been brilliant. He spoke to the team really well and he's trained really well and I can't fault his reaction at all.

    "So, there might be observation about where he might be in terms of me and giving you an honest answer of what I think he's likely to be thinking. But in terms of how he's trained and how he's been around the guys and with us, I'm happy."

    While Sterling is expected to return, it remains to be seen whether Gomez will feature as he vies with the likes of Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings and John Stones for a place in Southgate's XI.

    Southgate added: "I'm not going to pick the whole team for the next two games, but whatever decision I make, what happened last Monday won't have any bearing on selection for the next two games.

    "He is up against three outstanding, experienced centre-backs at his club. But he's a young defender and we've always thought highly of him as a player and as a character. So he's developing well.

    "I know he'll want to play more with us, but he's already proved to us against the likes of Brazil and Germany that he can cope at the highest level and thrive at the highest level.

    "Of course, when you're not getting a number of games at club level it's more difficult to come straight into the national team. But that doesn't mean we've lost faith in him because that's why we've kept him in the squad."

  • Tonali not daunted by €300m price tag amid growing interest Tonali not daunted by €300m price tag amid growing interest

    Sandro Tonali insisted he is "not scared" about his €300million valuation as Europe's elite eye the Brescia and Italy sensation.

    Brescia owner and president Massimo Cellino said it would take an offer of €300m for the Serie A side to part with prized asset Tonali.

    Tonali – who broke into Brescia's first team at the age of 17 – has been linked to Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, Inter and Manchester United.

    Asked about the price tag ahead of Italy's Euro 2020 qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina, the 19-year-old playmaker – who made his international debut last month – told Rai Sport: "I love President Cellino very much and he rates me highly.

    "He's a great person and I hope to travel down a good road with him.

    "After the match against Fiorentina, he said he wouldn't even sell me for €300m, but that doesn't scare me, even if it really is a lot of money.

    "I'm confident about what we'll do this season. For now I'm not thinking about the market, I just want to help Brescia stay up."

    Tonali came off the bench to make his Italy bow in the country's 5-0 rout of Liechtenstein in Euro 2020 qualifying on October 15.

    The Brescia star has been compared to Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso and Daniele De Rossi – who now plays for Boca Juniors.

    On those comparisons, Tonali added: "Being compared to Pirlo doesn't bother me, but I think we're very different because he had indescribable technique and quality.

    "I consider myself to be like Gattuso but more technical. He's always been my role model."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.