Win at Vallecano as important for Barcelona as El Clasico result, says Valverde

Sport360 staff 20:17 02/11/2018
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Ernesto Valverde

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde insists a win against Rayo Vallecano would be as significant as the victory in El Clasico.

Barca, who beat Real Madrid 5-1 on Sunday, are seeking a fifth straight win in all competitions but will be wary of their next opponents after suffering a loss to similarly placed Leganes in September.

Quoted in Marca, the manager said: “The three points that are on offer at Vallecas are the same amount as you get for beating Madrid.”

He also warned against underestimating Rayo despite Barcelona’s recent good form.

“Our previous defeat against Leganes can be a message for us, without a doubt,” Valverde added.

“The fact that we lost that game gives us a lesson to learn from and we will do that.”

After an impressive performance against Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey, young midfielder Carles Alena has been given a place in the starting line-up for Saturday, with Chumi also retaining his spot.

Barcelona will be without Lionel Messi for a fourth game in a row, as the striker broke his arm on October 20 against Sevilla.

On Messi’s absence, Valverde said: “He still has a problem with his arm. It is normal for him to want to get back into training quickly to maintain his form.

“We’re going to wait and see but it has only been two weeks since he injured it so we’re still going to wait.”

Messi joins Sergi Samper, Thomas Vermaelen and Samuel Umtiti on the injury list.

Rayo have won just one match all season and having taken just two points from their last five outings they sit just one place above the bottom of LaLiga.

Manager Michel told his club’s official website that the match would be very difficult.

“It is a game in which we have very little to lose and a lot to gain,” he said.

“We’re down in the standings and can show that we can win. The players have the necessary motivation and we need to be close to our best performance.”

Michel added that, despite being without star striker Messi, Barcelona’s other players in an “exceptional squad” pose a threat.

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