Valverde focused on winning another league and cup double with Barcelona

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde is targeting a second successive league and cup double this season as his side get set to face Levante in the Copa del Rey.

A repeat of last season’s achievement could be on the cards, with Barcelona top of LaLiga and in the last 16 of the cup, where they face a trip to Estadio Ciudad de Valencia on Thursday.

Valverde rejected the suggestion that a run in the cup could derail Barcelona’s title challenge and has his sights set on winning both competitions.

“I see the team and the players in good shape,” he told reporters at a pre-match press conference. “We just had a break, the players had some rest, and everybody was able to charge their batteries.

“We would like to have a lot of game in the cup because that’s good, it means we are getting through the rounds.

“With everything that is being talked about saying that the cup is a problem and that it could tire us out, I’m not so sure about that. Last season we might have dropped a point or two.

“January is a difficult month for us. It’s true the games come all at once and we have to make changes but the excitement for the club means a lot to us, the cup gives us a lot.

Celtic v Barcelona – 2016 International Champions Cup – Aviva Stadium
Munir El Haddadi may have played his last game for Barcelona (Liam McBurney/PA)

“Everyone loves playing in semi-finals and finals but we have to get through the earlier rounds and go for it. We want to win LaLiga, which is really important for us, and the cup as well.”

Valverde has decided to give the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez a rest with what will be a busy upcoming month for Barcelona.

Samuel Umtiti, Thomas Vermaelen and Rafinha are out while Munir El Haddadi will not be involved. The 23-year-old forward has been linked with Sevilla and he was also left out of the squad at Getafe at the weekend.

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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