Madrid: Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has called for ‘common sense’ to prevail over the rescheduling of Saturday’s Clasico against Real Madrid. The match at Camp Nou has been postponed because of violent protests in Catalonia, with Barca and Madrid agreeing on a new date of 18 December as instructed by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
But La Liga, who recommended the original postponement to the RFEF, would prefer 4 December as 18 December clashes with fixtures in the Copa del Rey. It means the decision was delayed on Monday as Barcelona and Real Madrid were given until Tuesday to make their opinions known on La Liga’s position.
“I would like common sense to prevail,” Valverde said at a press conference on Tuesday evening. “But we are talking about things that are complicated. The Espanyol against Villarreal game was played the other day but our game the following week is suspended. What would happen if there was a demonstration planned on the new date of the Clasico? I would like there to be a date settled and for the internal wars between La Liga and the RFEF not to involve us.”
Valverde was speaking ahead of Barcelona’s Champions League game away at Slavia Prague on Wednesday, when his team will have the chance to go top of Group F. They will be without Samuel Umtiti after the defender withdrew from the squad on Tuesday due to discomfort in his left knee. Umtiti made his first appearance in five weeks in Barca’s win over Eibar on Saturday after recovering from a foot injury.
“The other day he played well but today he took a little knock,” Valverde said. “We hope it stays that way and isn’t anything more serious.” Barcelona’s victory over Eibar sent them top of La Liga and delivered a boost for their newly-formed front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann, who all scored. Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati are both available to come in against Prague but Valverde admitted the ‘MSG’ attack could continue.
“Of course, it is a possibility we have,’ he said. ‘We could go with those who played or those who are available again like Dembele or Ansu. We’ll see. We will have to play well but we are in good form.”