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Valverde talks down Clásico importance

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The Catalans manager has acknowledged Atléti as a greater threat for the title as of now.

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has insisted that the forthcoming El Clásico at the Santiago Bernabéu will not be decisive for the La Lig title race.

Zidane’s men have been struggling to find their last season’s form since the start of the campaign, which has seen them 11 points adrift of Spanish top-flight leaders Barcelona. Even though a potential win would significantly lift the spirits of either side, Valverde talked down the significance on the El Clásico, stating there are other opponents who pose a greater threat right now.

“I don’t think a Clásico victory will give us the title,” he told a news conference, according to Goal.

“Atlético are only six points behind. What we know is that this is a long competition, nobody will decide anything at this point.

“We’re heading into the game happy. We have a week of preparation left and are confident.

“It’s a tough game against a huge rival, but we’re eager to face them.”

Valverde also praised Iniesta, who was taken out early in the second half to avoid potential injury for the upcoming clash with Real Madrid.

“What can I say? I’m very lucky to be able to count on him in my team,” Valverde added.

“Today he started in a different position because of Deportivo’s qualities.

“Andres played extremely well in that role.”