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European football

Valverde dismisses Barcelona crisis talk

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde is under pressure after a poor start to the season

Barcelona coach 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.

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 told a news conference on Monday 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.”

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).”

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