Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona vs Celta Vigo - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - December 2, 2017 Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde -
CAIRO – 6 December 2017: Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, revealed that he does not fear any opponent in the 16th round of the UEFA Champions League. Barcelona topped their group to qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament.
“We will accept any opponent,” Valverde told the press, after defeating Sporting Lisbon 2-0 on Tuesday.
Barcelona is used to tough opponents in the 16th round; in the last few years, they faced big teams such as AC Milan, Arsenal, Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City.
Valverde praised his Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen saying, “I see him playing well; he competes well and is strong when he goes up in the air.”
Valverde was forced to use Vermaelen in defense after Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano were injured.
Valverde defended Barcelona’s style of play, he stated, “Our plan is to dominate matches and to create chances, at the same time as making sure they don't create chances against us. We try to do things as well as we can. Sometimes we play wonderfully and sometimes less so."
Barcelona tops the Spanish League with five points clear after 14 fixtures and they qualified for the Champions League knockout stage without losing any game.