Ernesto Valverde does not believe Barcelona have done anything wrong

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde says his side should still be in the Copa del Rey quarter-final draw despite accusations from Levante that they fielded an ineligible player in last week’s first leg.

Barca overturned a 2-1 deficit from last Thursday as Ousmane Dembele’s double and a Lionel Messi effort gave them a 3-0 win at the Nou Camp – a 4-2 success on aggregate.

But Levante president Quico Catalan has said his club have complained to the Spanish Football Federation over Barcelona’s selection of youngster Chumi in the first match and hope to get them thrown out of the competition.

Levante say Chumi was suspended after picking up five yellow cards for Barcelona B.

However, Valverde insists that the 19-year-old was eligible for a cup game and was instead banned for the LaLiga game against Eibar.

In quotes reported by Marca, Valverde said after Thursday’s second-leg win: “We have no doubt about Chumi, neither before, nor after, nor during, we think that we should be in the draw tomorrow.

Barcelona eased to victory at the Nou Camp on Thursday night
Barcelona eased to victory at the Nou Camp on Thursday night (Manu Fernandez/AP)

“We are sure that we did it well, we knew perfectly well that Chumi was sanctioned and that he could not use the match against Eibar, but in the cup. We could not use (Rafa) Mujica either.

“We are convinced of what we have done, we have acted in an absolutely correct way, we have won where we had to win, it is very clear.”

Catalan had said before the game, in quotes reported by Marca: “It’s not an easy situation, as sports people like us, we prefer to win situations like this on the pitch.

“Whatever happens on the pitch, Levante are going to pass the situation on to the Federation tomorrow.”

Winger Malcom was not involved on Thursday and has been linked with a move away from the Nou Camp this month.

However, Valverde says he will be in Barcelona’s squad for the game against Leganes at the weekend.

He added: “We have him, yes, he is a player with very important qualities and we want to see them, this Sunday he starts again, he can enter the squad.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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