No discussions with national team coaches, insists Valverde

Lucas Digne is out for three weeks due to an injury sustained on international duty, but Ernesto Valverde sympathises with national coaches.

Ernesto Valverde of Barcelona   -  Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde has confirmed Barcelona did not hold talks with national team coaches regarding players being selected during the March international break.

Lucas Digne is out for three weeks after sustaining an injury on international duty with France, while Lionel Messi is a doubt for Saturday's league game at Sevilla.

Messi was unable to play any part in either Argentina fixture during the break, but Valverde empathises with national team coaches as the World Cup approaches.

"You have to put yourselves in the shoes of national team coaches as it was the last test teams have before meeting up before the World Cup," Valverde said.

"Each wants to get their squads ready and we haven't spoken to anyone about whether players play or not.

"We keep our fingers crossed everyone comes back without any problems so things like what happened to Lucas Digne don't happen. We've lost him for three weeks."

An 11-point advantage from nearest rivals Atletico Madrid gives LaLiga leaders Barcelona a large cushion with only nine rounds of games to play.

But with Barca facing seven fixtures in the space of 22 days Valverde is taking nothing for granted as the campaign draws to a close.

"We are where we are and where everyone wanted to be," Valverde added. "We have enough in the squad to face up to this final part of the season.

"We have to control everything in the decisive part of the season, where everything is at stake. The physical side we have to think about as we don't want players to be injured, but mentality is the important thing to think about.

"This month we have options in all three competitions and we need the energy to compete for everything. But we don't want physical problems or injuries that can affect the team.

"We want to win and we want to win it [the title] as soon as we can. But Sevilla want to win it as well. What we don't want to do is leave it too far ahead, we want the three points tomorrow.

"The 11-point advantage does not mean we will not be looking to compete strongly in the next few games as well, as we have over the whole season."

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