Hertha Berlin
TSG Hoffenheim
6:30 PM UTC
Game Details
Derby County
Queens Park Rangers
6:45 PM UTC
Game Details
AS Nancy Lorraine
5:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Real Betis
6:45 PM UTC
Game Details
Toronto FC
Sporting Kansas City
11:30 PM UTC
Game Details
Seattle Sounders FC
Atlanta United FC
2:00 AM UTC Apr 1, 2017
Game Details
Cruz Azul
3:00 AM UTC Apr 1, 2017
Game Details

Leno honoured by Madrid speculation


Valverde wary of Barcelona backlash

Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde has claimed Barcelona’s poor form will not represent an advantage ahead of his side’s visit to the Camp Nou on Sunday.

Ernesto Valverde left Valencia for Athletic Bilbao after steadying the ship
Ernesto Valverde has been talked about as a possible replacement for Gerardo Martino at Barcelona.

• Ledwith: Days of misery
• Neymar out for a month
• PickCenter: Barca-Athletic Insider

Barca have been dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, lost to Granada in La Liga and lost the Copa del Rey final to Real Madrid, but Valverde, whose side are battling to secure fourth place, is wary of a backlash from the Catalan side.

He is reported by AS as telling his prematch news conference: “I do not know if it is better or worse for us, but this week now La Liga is the only trophy Barca can win. The game is difficult, even if they have lost out on two trophies in a week.

“Maybe now they feel more pressure to break the bad run after losing three consecutive games, something they are not used to. But for us it is just as difficult.”

Valverde also remains wary of Lionel Messi, whose contribution has been questioned after failing to score or inspire Barca during their loss of form.

“[Messi’s form] does not affect us,” he said. “We are only interested in him not being very involved against us. He is asked to pull a rabbit out of his hat in every game, while being the player who is most marked of everyone.

“Maybe now he is not the same form as before, but he can tip a game in any instant. If he is so bad then I would not mind if he does not play.”

Valverde has inspired Bilbao to challenge for Champions League qualification this season, leading to reports that he could be considered to replace Gerardo Martino in the summer.

However, the former Barca striker dismissed the idea, saying: “No, of course not. The answer is no.”


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.