11.09.2017 18:00 - in: UCL S

      Valverde and Ter Stegen preview Nou Camp clash

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      Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde and goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen address the media ahead of Tuesday's visit of Juventus


      “I've been keeping an eye on Juventus in Serie A,” the coach began. “They're a very strong side who know exactly what they're doing. We don't fear them but we respect them, both individually – with the likes of [Paulo] Dybala, [Andrea] Barzagli and [Gonzalo] Higuain – and as a team.

      “They put you under a lot of pressure and they caused problems for us last year. We know they can be very dangerous both when pressing forward and when building play from the back because they link up so well between the lines.” 

      Valverde admitted that he is both excited and optimistic about hosting the Bianconeri on Tuesday night, following his side's perfect start to their La Liga campaign.

      “It's the sort of game you get excited about. Every match is important but obviously when you're up against such a top-quality side it grabs even more attention.

      “We've been playing well so far and we're in good shape. Of course it's better to go into games like this on the back of a winning run. We have a good feeling about it.”

      Asked about the players Juve will be missing, he added: “They're strong enough to make up for any defections. I don't know who [Massimiliano] Allegri will decide to go with but he has a great squad to choose from."

      Finally, the former Athletic Bilbao coach was keen to dismiss any notion that Group D might be a straight head-to-head between Barcelona and Juventus, stressing that Sporting and Olympiacos should by no means be written off.

      “If we think first place is between us and Juventus, we'd be showing a lack of respect to the other teams in the group and that would be risky. 

      "We're focused on winning tomorrow because these three points are very important to us. Afterwards, we can think about our other opponents."


      The Barca goalie began by describing how the Catalans have changed since Valverde replaced Luis Enrique in the summer.

      “We've started the season well, picking up three wins and three clean sheets in the league. We've altered our playing system slightly and use pace on the wings. We occupy the space in a different way and have a few new ideas. 

      “We have a good feeling going into this game, although we know it won't be easy tomorrow.”

      The Germany keeper was in the team that lost to Juve over two legs in last season's quarter-finals but insisted this is no grudge match.

      “We all know what happened last year but we're not out for revenge or to set the record straight. We just want to win, without looking at the past.

      “The Champions League is one of the competitions where we want to do better this year because we set out to fight for every trophy.” 

      Ter Stegen also offered some glowing praise for Paulo Dybala and Gigi Buffon.

      “Dybala is such a skilful player and he's improving so quickly. He works hard for the team too. He's one of those players who really make a difference out there.

      “Buffon is a legend. After all these years he's still playing as if he were at the peak of his powers. I hope he carries on for a long time."

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