Barcelona contract talks can wait until later - coach Ernesto Valverde
BARCELONA -- Ernesto Valverde has said he is not thinking about renewing his Barcelona contract despite having less than 12 months to run on his existing terms.
Valverde signed a two-year deal with an option for a third when he replaced Luis Enrique last year, and president Josep Maria Bartomeu told Spanish radio last week that talks would take place on extending it.
However, the coach is reluctant to look that far ahead and wants to focus on the immediate future, starting with Sunday's game against Girona at the Camp Nou.
"I have a contract at the moment and I have the option to extend it by a further year," he told a news conference on Saturday.
"But you know how things work in football. We will have to see how things go, how the team progresses. It's still September, there's a long way to go."
Two of Valverde's predecessors, Luis Enrique and Pep Guardiola, walked away from Barca, saying the job had worn them down.
But asked whether he was feeling the effects of coaching the La Liga champions, Valverde said: "It's still September, so there is still a plenty of time ahead of us for me to get exhausted."
Valverde won a league and cup double in his first season in charge, losing only one La Liga game, but despite winning all six matches in all competitions this season, some have hit out at the performances.
"I don't say anything to the critics," Valverde said. "Everything seems fine to me. What more can I say? We try to win and try to play well. It's not as easy as people think.
"The demands here and at all the big clubs are always high. This is football. I have to accept those things."
Valverde called on his side to make a fast start against Girona after seeing them let in early goals against Huesca and Real Sociedad.
"Conceding early is a concern but it depends," he said. "I'm more bothered, for example, by the goal against Huesca than La Real.
"The goal against La Real was not as worrying because it was a rebound, which is not something you can control. But, in general, it's something we need to take care of because we're a team that has to score first rather than conceding."
Valverde has a full squad to choose from against Girona, with Denis Suarez, Arthur Melo, Malcom and Sergi Samper all back in contention following slight problems.
He could make changes to the side that beat PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League, with two more league games to come in the next seven days.